Sardine Eaters

Hello, my name is Drew, and I'm a Sardine Fiend.

 You no longer have to be a closet Sardine eater. Come on out and share. It's okay to be a sardine eater, we were born that way...

I receive stories and opinions about sardines often. This page is for you, the sardine eater. Show me and the other eaters how you eat your sardines. You can submit photos, stories, reviews, recipes, anything you like that is sardine-related and is yours to share. Send all submissions to: Please place "sardine eaters" in the subject line. Please include your location and name to be placed with the post.  Or submit to facebook

 I found this can of sardines in Texas along Route 66 a couple years ago. It was dropped on a piece of cracked, weedy concrete and had baked and rusted in the sun a long time. 

Taking in the scene, I could speculate what happened: somebody, some free and nomadic spirit, had climbed through a nearby barbed wire fence to explore an abandoned structure. In coming or going, they had dropped this tiny portion of their backpacker supplies. And it laid there a while in the weather. 

Today, I found the CAN in my VAN amid other RAN-domness. I opened the rusty can and...

The sardines inside were just fine and yummy. I should have taken a photo but I did not find your blog until afterward. I discovered your site just because I wanted to know if the sardines were anything rare or discontinued but they are not. 

I am big into sardines. They often accompany me on adventures which are many and colorful and take place all over the world. I have eaten many a CAN in Afghani-STAN, my MAN. 

Could I write a poem about sardines? Just ASK, I am up to the TASK. 


I like the designs of the cans sometimes... this design and the patina of rust I particularly liked, especially accompanied by its little story. 


Amazing. Highly recommend. Super clean tasting. Pairs well with half a tomato and mayo sandwich.

Luke, PA

Ken Holland
Wilmington, North Carolina 

Review of Polar Sardines in Tomato Sauce

This is a 15 oz. tin of "wild caught" (aren't they all?) sardines from China. They cost under $2.00. 

Pros: no fishy smell, firm fish, no heads or tails, uniform size, plenty of tomato sauce, no real aftertaste, a 15 oz. tin makes for a complete lunch.

Cons: very bland fish with very little flavor, very bland tomato sauce. I had to add copious amounts of Tabasco sauce and Real Lemon to give these fish any flavor.

Conclusion: these are innocuous sardines, nothing objectionable, but likewise nothing to recommend them to anyone other than a full lunch for under two bucks.

2 sardines

REVIEWS BY, SARDINE EATER, Ken Holland. Wilmington, NC

Drew, love your reviews and website. You help the rest of us sardine eaters "come out of the tin". Although I am a proud sardine eater, my wife still leaves the kitchen when I open a tin of them. My favorites are King Oscar brislings (double layer in olive oil) but my local grocers sell other brands as well. Dollar Stores often stock them and some discount stores, such as my local Roses Discount Store, which is where I bought the Beach Cliff sardines in Louisiana hot sauce that I want to re-review with your permission today.

The sardines cost $1.00 per tin. No fishy smell on opening. The sardines were adequately firm and, by themselves, had a mild flavor. The hot sauce was tangy and real and would probably be hot enough to satisfy most people's taste buds. I prefer hot sauces made with Carolina Reapers and Trinidad Scorpions, so you can't go by me on heat, but I thought the sauce was real Louisiana sauce. I think there were tails, but I don't care about that. Not spiny. Clean taste; no fishy aftertaste.
The real difference was in the number of 'dines per tin. The original review indicated around 3 or 4 big chunks per tin. My first tin contained 13 sardines and my second tin had 15 fish. So, a lot closer to brisling size. Both tins were "Product of Poland".
My opinion: 4 sardines. Not bad for a buck. Photos attached. 


 Eating high on the sardine, at least for me, with the most I've spent on a tin of fish, four bucks from Amazon. Cheaper if purchased in a larger quantity than my two tins. The only complaint is how hard the top was to get off.

Three large, meaty fish with a mild smell and great taste. I will be getting these again, and will request them when someone is stumped finding a gift for me.
Toasted naan bread, a drizzle of oil from the tin, sweet onions, and Aldi's Everything Bagel seasoning.


Hope it's permitted to post a little review by a newly serious sardine eater.
I was bummed Aldi stopped selling their Northern Catch sardines, but I decided to try the Bumble Bee brand in oil at 99 cents per tin. Listed as sprats from Poland.
My new go to for seasoning is Aldi's Everything Bagel, with a little red pepper flakes added.
The fish had a good smell, not strong, just right. They were a bit soft, I'm fine with that. Tails were mostly off the several smallish fish. My plated pic didn't take, they were served on toasted naan bread with a sprinkle of the bagel seasoning and thinly sliced sweet onion. It was an excellent lunch and I will stock up on more of these and hope the quality stays the same. Next time I'll try a few straight up to see if the smoke flavoring is stronger than what I tasted, hopefully it is not.

Bill Garrett



Ocean Naturals
Pacific Sardines EVO 3.75oz

Tasted like tuna fish, nothing wrong with that, but I was expecting more sardine than tuna. Very mild. The fillets look a lot like mackerel.
The flavor was too mild. Not offensive at all, lacking a little salt and not enough nutty flavor.

2.5 sardines Would not buy again
Bought at Ocean State Job lot ~$2.00

Galleon Premium
Sardines in Cayenne pepper EVO 4.25oz

3 fish? Taste of fish was good, but zero heat. Not even a little. Missing salt too.
Nothing special.

2 sardines. Would not buy again.
Bought at Ocean State Job lot ~$2.00

Portuguese Mackeral in EVO 4.25oz

They seemed to not be fully cooked, 4 fish. They were fishy, they were not fully cleaned, or not cleaned out at all.
Needed salt and pepper.
I also put on sesame oil, then they were good.
Wouldn’t buy again. Would use for a spread, not good alone.
2 sardines

Steven Mark, Texas

Jen. MS

Portland, OR
"Fit for a king! Or a prince with an arm for a pillow".

Alex Thomas
"And I forgot crackers!"

Jennifer Bitunjac Lody

Cindy Lum

Pics from Lisbon, Portugal. Thierry Thevenin, Bordeaux France

Thierry Thevenin, Bordeaux France

Jim C. Hartwood VA

Rick West, Saint Louis MO
Rick West, Saint Louis MO

Stuart Johnson. Lenoir, NC

Drew Mellon, World Cup viewing snack

Bryan Johansen, California

Bryan Johansen, California

Dear Drew,
What a great blog and website.  I stumbled onto it due to a sardine crisis at lunch today.  I am an occasional sardine eater and usually do so right from the can, with a cracker or piece of bread nearby.  Today, I was looking for a quick lunch and spied a can of sardines in the pantry  and was salivating as I opened it.  Disapointment took over immediately as I discovered a fairly tasteless tomato sauce around five large sardines that just did not have that great sardine taste.  They were rather chewy and had a decidedly bitter aftertaste.  Upon a close examination of the can I found that these were a product of China.  The can was 15oz and produced by Pampa.  The name is Sardines in Tomato Sauce.  The quantity was fine, the texture was tough and the taste awful.  I noticed that you had reviewed other Pampa sardine products with similar results.  My favorite are Vigo in oil.  I have to say that I am not much of a fan of any of the tomato sauce versions from any producer.
Woodstock, VT

Andy, Casar NC

Andy M, Casar, NC

Bryan Johansen, California

"Bachelor night special"
Bryan J

Just found these newly stocked at Walmart.  For $2.24.  Unpleasant to look at.  The tuscan style tomato sauce is delicious, the fish are firm and good texture, lots of good meat.  But the sauce outweighs the fish in flavor.  More about the sauce than the fish, but a good buy for me.  I would buy again.  All a matter of personal taste.  I give 4 out of 5.  

David McKee
Tyler, Texas 

Kendra R.  Warren, Iowa

It was awful, Well a old lady helped me pick it out. There wasn't much of a selection. I got a different can to try later. I just don't like the oily fish.
Melanie. G Charlotte NC

Pam Adams. These Cento's  remind me of Hawaii.... 

These Polar S&B in olive oil  r great. Close to Cento S&B in olive oil.
William H Kichline Jr

David McKee, Rosa California

Paul Stevens, Seattle Washington

Pam Adams

Saw these in a grocery in Newmarket, England yesterday and thought about
Bryan Dosier

                                                        Pam Adams. King Oscar Tiny Tots


National Sardines Day,2012.  Chris A. of Gaston, NC; With son Ryan eating sardines on National Sardines day. What a great day for Ryan to try Sardines for the first time. looks as if you have a sardine eater there, Chris.

Pam Adams.     Autumn snacks....

My favorite brand for sardines?   PINHAIS!!!! They just produce sardines and makerell, and they only can fresh fish from Matosinhos. Victor Vicente.  LIsbon, Portugal. 

 "CAN The CAN"  Check them out, you'll be wanting to go to Lisbon. 

                                               Pam Adams. *Lunch* —   Glendale, CA

 Robin M.  Sardines at PPD Dallas, NC

Chris A. sardines at PPD. Dallas, NC

                                      Pam Adams. Sardines by the pool. —  at Glendale, CA

Amanda Self.  Berkeley, California
I had sardines for the first time last week and I LOVED them! I was so surprised! Today I mixed up a can with some Wasabi Mayonnaise and had it with chips. Heaven! ♥

Pam Adams.  Kalapaki Beach, Kaua'i...lunch

A flash story from author, Tonia Brown; who is also a Sardine Eater!

Fish Fingers

Drew wasn’t certain it was a pinky until he got it out of the can of sardines and washed the mustard sauce off of it. He held it under his lantern, turning the soft flesh back and forth in the halo of light, inspecting the thing. It sure looked like a pinky finger. Had a nail and everything. Yet he wouldn’t have even noticed it was a pinky if it weren’t for one glaring fact; it sported a little gold ring around the smallest joint.
A pinky ring, he believed it was called.
Drew slipped the ring off and held it up to the light as well. Wasn’t worth much, so little and all, but the pinky wasn’t using it anymore so he slid it into his fishing vest all the same, then turned his attention back to the small digit in his palm.
A pinky? What in the hell was a pinky doing in his sardines? He glanced back to the tin, wondering if it was the only one. Drew placed the pinky on his knee and reached for the tin again, careful not to bump his rod lest he ruin the tension on the line or, even worse, knock the whole works into the water. He raised the container to his nose and sniffed. Smelled like sardines. He pushed his own finger around in the mustard sauce, eyeing the contents. Looked like sardines too. Drew lifted a fish out and waggled it, letting the sauce slide away into the open container beneath. As the yellow liquid dripped and ran off, it became increasingly apparent that the pinky wasn’t the only free floating digit in the can.
The half eaten tin was filled with fingers instead of fish.
Drew set his jaw. Perhaps this was a prank? Sure. That Tony Brown was just ornery enough, as well as wicked enough, to pull such a thing off. Which mean they couldn’t be fingers, now could they? Drew eyed the tin again.
No, they were fingers all right.
The one he was holding now even had a bit of hair on its knuckles. 
The hairy knuckle gave him another idea; an industrial accident. Sure. That would explain the whole tin of fingers. Some poor slob got his hand caught in a fish packing machine and Drew was out here in the backwoods, fishing and drinking beer and nibbling on the end results. Could he sue the company? How much would he get for eating some injured worker’s fingers? Unless it wasn’t just an accident. Could it be something else?
Drew looked down to his pack, a curiosity itching in the back of his brain. There was only one way to settle this. He lowered the mustard sardine/fingers and snatched up another tin—this one packed in hot sauce. He inhaled deeply, then held his breath as he popped the lid on the tin. After he turned the can over onto the shoreline, he raised his beer toward the mess, to rinse the fish clean, when it dawned on him he only had a half dozen of the things left.
Beers, not sardine tins.
As an alternative, and because he needed to take a leak anyways, he dropped his drawers for a moment, and sprayed the fish in cleansing stream of warm urine.
Only they weren't fish.
Five perfectly preserved fingers lay on the muddy shore in a pool of piss and hot sauce.
“Huh,” Drew said aloud, because he didn't know what else to say.
He poked at the fingers. Soft and supple, they gave under his touch much in the manner a pressure-cooked sardine would. Which made a whole world of sense when one thought about it for any length of time. After all, wasn't that how they did it? Packed ‘em raw then pressure cooked the lot? Must work the same for human flesh, because the evidence of such was lying at Drew’s feet.
Drew pulled out another can, he always kept a handful on hand and inspected it. Packed in oil. Same brand name. Same kind of tin. He placed an internal bet with himself, then popped the lid. Five fingers filled the can, floating in a pool of oil. Drew looked to them, the digits at his feet, and then the mustard can, which he had already eaten half of before he found the pinky. As he looked to the fingers, he asked himself a single, important question.
Did it matter?
The fingers tasted like fish, or at the very least, they tasted like what he thought sardines should taste like. What if they had always been fingers and he just never took the time to notice? They were sardines, for Pete’s sake. He just opened the can, mushed ‘em up, threw them on some crackers, and swallowed the lot. It wasn't like he stripped ‘em down and took pictures of them, or kept notes on how they tasted or smelled or felt or something silly like that. But, seriously, what if every single one of his cans both here and at home were filled with digits instead of sardines, would he still eat them?
Drew picked up the mustard tin again and sniffed it one more time. Smelled like fish. Tasted like fish. Sort of looked like fish. As he lifted a finger to his lips, just before he chewed and swallowed it down, he wondered, briefly, just who it belonged to.
But only briefly.


  1. I've just discovered how great sardines are! Been eating them at least once a week lately. Mouth Full of Sardines is an awesome resource! I love it!!

    1. that's great! Thank you. Keep popping those tins!

  2. Are you interested in Pinhais Nuri Sardines In Canada ?

  3. Just found this website on sardines while I was introducing a co-worker to the world of sardines. I have been eating 1-2 tins per week for last 35 years and still can not get enough of them. Best food ever............

    1. That's great! It sure is! Keep popping those tins!

  4. Oh my goodness, I've found a blog for fellow little stinky fish lovers! Found this while looking for sardine recipes.
    I mostly buy my sardines at a Middle Eastern market, cheaper and better than grocery store. I will send in photos after my next trip.

    1. Welcome fellow Sardine Eater! Come on in and pop a tin!

  5. I love Sardines but not canned due to BPA leaching from the can linings.
    You may want to reconsider eating any canned foods:

    BPA has been found to cause a range of serious health problems.

    Although you may be able to find claimed BPA-free cans there's no
    regulation or assurance of this and it also turns out that the alternatives
    used such as BPS and BPF are just as problematic as BPA.

    The only answer is to eat fresh natural foods and not canned foods.

    Some info:

    1. Sadly, fresh sardines are not available to everyone, even the frozen sardines are stored in plastic for freezing. BPA has become a part of everything, from receipts, to jar lids, beer cans, even fresh foods are stored in, processed, and contained in BPA plastics. Hopefully one day they will find a solution. Thanks for sharing the links!

    2. Baltic Gold are packed in glass jars and are excellent!

  6. I started eating sardine regularly since I found myself low in HDL last year. Now for every breakfast, I mixed oatmeal with a can of spicy sardine. It tastes surprisingly great

    1. Sounds very interesting! I've never thought of having sardines with my oatmeal. I will have to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Huzzah! This website makes me so happy! Fellow sardine lovers!! Not sure if you are still checking this, but browsing through here and reading about your sardine taste adventures is wonderful. I’ve been going crazy for ‘ la gondola millesimes’ lately... Just stocked up on more tins. Anyhow, thanks for being awesome.

  8. I was just googling nutrition info because the can I picked up didn't have it on there, and I stumbled across this.

    Can't lie, totally shocked at how much free time you have to build this blog. Also shocked at all the readers that come here frequently. Bizarre.

    1. Sardines brings people together! Keep popping those Tins!