After our first sardines taste test came out, a bunch of our readers called us out for missing some of their favorite brands.
King Cup’s has a slightly watery sauce. But we’re not mad at it, given it’s tomato-y flavor. The pieces of fish are thin; and they’re quite mushy that they disintegrate into a paste after you eat them. However, it does taste like real fish, which we appreciated.
Mega’s sauce is thick, and has a salty, briny profile. It reminded us of kaldereta sauce, so we originally thought they added more ingredients to add depth. (We were wrong; their ingredients list only included tomato paste.) The sardines have a smoky finish, and has a sort of grilled fish texture. You can actually bite into the pieces. Our readers seem to like this brand particularly, and we agree.
Paradiso’s sauce has a nice, but watery texture. It doesn’t really taste like anything, and acts as more of a can filler. Although, we did detect some sourness after trying it again and again. Some members of the team liked the fish’s flavor and texture, giving it a solid “okay.” That said, we noticed that all of the fish’s tails were curled—[“as if they’re scared.”] That doesn’t really give any bearing to the taste test, but we found it interesting.
There were only three pieces of sardines in Señorita’s can, but they were huge. “[It’s] like they were injected with steroids!” However, it was pasty (like King Cup) and scaly, prompting one of our team members to ask “Why would you buy it if it had scales?” It’s a shame, really, because the fish tasted decent. The sauce reminded us more like sweet tomato (not a sweet tomato), and had an almost jelly-like texture.
We couldn’t figure out if we liked Swan’s sardines or not. It was… different, but not un-enjoyable. It has a neutral flavor—sweet and not too sour. The fish was a tad scaly, but it was great flavor-wise.
Toyo’s sauce had a rich, viscous texture. That’s about the only good thing we can say about the brand. The liquid has an artificial taste; and the fish was horrible. It was scaly and mushy—so much so that one of us had to spit it out. Plus, it was cut up into tiny pieces, so you don’t get any large chunks.
The Verdict: (Still) Rose Bowl Gold
Rose Bowl Gold still wins this taste test over-all. But in this batch—which we can say was collectively better than the first—Mega’s flavorful sauce and smoky fish comes out on top.