Last night, I had sardines and rice for dinner. It was the first time eating sardines since I was young, probably younger than 13-years old. It was before my family moved to Hawaii in 1974 and I was 13 then. I’ll be 55 in a few days and I guess more than 42 years is a long time to not eat something that doesn’t offend my taste buds. I just never had the desire. My wife, Josie, and every Filipino related to her have eaten sardines for years. It’s a common dish in our area of the world.
There’s a reason for the expression, “packed like sardines”. The tins I remember had a lot of the little fishes packed into them with very little tomato sauce. I ate them on saltines (crackers) a few times, prodded by an older sister.
The brand of sardines they like around here go by the brand name of “Ligo”. Ligo’s fish come in red and green cans, smothered in various flavors of sauce. The can Josie opened, heated and put on top of my rice had only three fish in it and a lot of sauce. I really can’t complain because at 15 pesos or less (around 30 cents USD) per can, it’s a cheap meal.
The fish didn’t bother me but the sauce was offensive. I managed to eat it all, but it took me lot longer than I expected. It didn’t taste as bad as the “cream of broccoli” soup I put on my rice a few days ago. Now that was nasty and I still managed to eat it.
I generally don’t like small fish, but sardines and anchovies don’t taste bad until they’re dressed up with something that tastes bad. Like bagoong. Filipinos love it but I can’t stand to be near it.
The only reason I’m eating more fish these days and less of anything else is because I know I need to do so.
Fish is the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids, something the typical American doesn’t get enough of. We tend to get more Omega-6 fatty acids from other animals. Small fish have less mercury than big fish, so it’s fairly safe to eat them as often as I can stomach them.
I don’t like all the fish the people around me like to eat. I don’t like dried fish at all and most of the fish they like have too many bones to pick out. I don’t like tilapia and milkfish for that reason and because they tend to taste a bit too fishy.
Of course, I like tuna, but that’s a big fish. I’ve never tasted mackerel, so I don’t know if I’ll like it or not when I do. I’ll have to try it at least once.