You Should Be Eating More Canned Fish

Think of it as oceanic charcuterie

David Neimanis
Heated
Published in
6 min readFeb 7, 2020

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Photo: Claudia Totir via Getty Images

Whenever I bring up my love of canned fish, my friends and colleagues morph into picky children.

Canned seafood has a bad reputation in the United States, and it’s not just anecdotal: On an annual basis, the average American consumes about 3.5 pounds of canned seafood, a number that’s been steadily falling over the last three decades. Meanwhile, the average Spaniard polishes off nearly three times that.

I wasn’t always a canned fish lover. A friend of mine recommended sardines during one of my sporadic efforts to work out often and eat well. He raved about the health benefits, cost-effectiveness, and convenience of these protein-packed little cans. I tried them out, and, well, I liked them. I didn’t love them, but I liked them enough that they became part of my diet.

It wasn’t until I went on a trip through Southern Europe that my love story began.

People in Spain and Portugal love canned seafood, or conservas. I knew this prior to visiting, but I didn’t quite understand the extent to which conservas were appreciated. At a tiny tapas bar in Barcelona called Quimet & Quimet, it all began to make sense. The only options for food and drink were wine, spirits, and canned seafood.

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David Neimanis
Heated
Writer for

Brooklyn-based writer, consumer, and tinned fish aficionado www.davidneimanis.com @davidneimanis