Only 15 Days Until Dragon*Con 2012…
It’s important, right up front, to once again admit that I actually like sardines and other various tinned fish “treats”. I am no stranger to them, having eaten them my whole life, so not only are my sardine reviews coming from that angle, but they also are something that I enjoy eating, rather than something that I hate and are eating just because I feel like they are healthy.
If you are interested, here are a couple links to past sardine reviews that I have done on this site:
Today, I am going to review Polar Brand’s “herring filets in mustard sauce”!!!
The Polar brand has been around, apparently, since 1976, making them slightly older than me… which has absolutely nothin’ to do with nothin’.
The reason I went with Polar this time is because they got some good reviews. That’s right, FFDC reader, there was a point in my life when I had nothing better to do than read online reviews of canned fish. Sorta like you, right now.
The “herring filet” or “kippered snack”, or whatever they call them on the can you normally buy, is a different beast altogether than the sardine. While “sardines” may indeed be herring, the herring filets are definitely not sardines.
Does that make sense? Kippered snacks, herring filets, are literally just the filets of tiny fish. Meaning, just the meat. Sardines are, usually, the whole fish. Bones and all. Sometimes even with the head. If I open a can of sardines, and the heads are still on, they make a one-way trip to the garbage can. Which is a shame, because ironically enough, the various heads-on brands I have had are usually very expensive (for a can of sardines).
My sardine supply was once limited to what Target or Winn-Dixie had, but then I fucked up and bought some English/Irish groceries online via Amazon. It was only a quick slippery slope to checking out what sorts of sardines they had tucked away in their little nooks of Hell wherever my German sardines can get to my house in less than a full day.
Once I discovered that I could get swanky sardines online, and for moderately reasonable prices, it was all over. Being the middle class honky that I am, the $3/can sardines seemed better than the $2/can Brunswicks or Beach Cliffs that are readily available locally.
Also, according to several reviews, the Brunswick kippered snacks have some sort of chemical inside. Like Smilex or something. Admittedly, I have had the Brunswick kippered snacks before and have never detected any trace of Smilex, but when I read the reviews of Polar that said they were all natural and, most importantly, tasted a zillion times better than the Brunswicks, I was sold.
This can is larger than a can of Brunswicks, as nearly every can of kippered snacks is larger than a can of sardines. Unfortunately, I think that “Herring Filets” are also not as good for you as the straight sardines. Maybe it’s because you don’t get those tiny little bones for bonus calcium, but anything labeled as a “snack” seems like it would be worse for you than something that is not.
I received the pack of herring filets in the mail about a week ago. One of the downsides of ordering online is that you must order about 6 cans at a time, so be prepared to either eat something you don’t like 6 times, or waste your money by throwing 5 cans of nastiness in the garbage.
So this is not my first can of these babies.
Opened up, the herring filets look like this:
I will be the first to admit that most cans of sardines do not look appetizing upon opening. These look like baby shit with a side of cat vomit. I even tried to dressy it up with instagram, but nothing is gonna hide that certain pus-yellow element to the ooze in this can. I guess I coulda gone all artsy with it and b&w’ed it.
Yellow has got to be one of the most wretched colors in the universe. The Martians may have discovered some elite “puke on sight” color, and the Curiosity may discover it, much to Earth’s chagrin, but it can only be slightly more off-putting than the milky yellow seen inside this can of Alien face-hugger guts. I know the executives at the McDonald’s would disagree with me, but I don’t eat a lot of yellow things. I guess cheese can be yellow, or at least it was in my coloring books when I colored all those pieces of cheese as a child. I wish I had a coloring book that was all cheeses. “The Official ‘Cheeses of Europe’ Coloring Book! Now including Humboldt Fog!” Nasty.
Despite looking like a can of “old alcoholic man liver”, the Polar Brand Herring Filets in Mustard Sauce are actually quite good.
The sauce is really tasty, if you like mustard. Which I do.
The fish is good, and seems to be of high quality and doesn’t have that really strong “rancid fishy” taste to it.
The combined taste of mustard with fish may be something that a lot of folks are not used to. I know Beach Cliff makes a can of sardines with mustard sauce, which is quite different than this sauce.
My only complaints?
1. Too much damn sauce. Once you open these up, you will definitely have some issues with keeping the jaundiced goop contained and manageable. This sauce has been itching to get out and get on your clothes and couch, do not let it!
Seriously Polar, dial it back a notch with the sauce. This is not a can of mustard sauce with trace elements of fish inside. The fish is the main event! The Ultimate Warrior to the can’s Million Dollar Man!
2. Not enough fish. See #1. Too much sauce, and I swear there are whole little areas in this can that are just open! If you’ve ever heard the term “packed in like sardines” it does not refer to these herring filets. Instead, these fish are on a luxury cruise from Germany to your kitchen, with enough room to spread out and really enjoy their swim in the mustard.
I would give these a 7/10. They taste really good, but look terrible, and they are kind of expensive for how many fish you get. On a triscuit, they are delicious, though.
Give them a try, unless you’re scaaaared! Random chicken noise.