I have like canned tuna since my high school days. Back then, our canteen had huge freshly baked pan de sals with different palamans (fillings) and my favorite was a mashed up tuna and mayonnaise concoction that was tuna-ish, rich, sweet and comforting all at the same time. Once I headed off to college in the U.S. Northeast, I continued to have tunafish sandwiches, shifting from pan de sal to whole wheat bread, often with some shredded lettuce and possibly some sliced tomato. Whenever I purchased canned tuna in the U.S., the newly opened can almost always yielded a fairly smushed up or flaked meat ranging from a paler color to a darker hue. Back home in Manila, the first few cans I opened seemed to have even darker meat and increasingly a fishy smell and more oily consistency. Smashed up and mixed with mayonnaise, the semblance of tuna flakes almost completely disappeared, almost turning into a fishy spread. Exposed to European tuna, like this PHP500+ bottle of Spanish tuna in the second photo, I had evolved into the wonderful bottled or canned tunas from Italy and Spain that had huge whole pieces of â€œwhite meatâ€ and a delicious, non-fishy flavor. This was the tuna that originally made the vaunted Salade Nicoise so enjoyableâ€¦
So I was ecstatic when a friend of ours conspiratorially served us some canned tuna one Christmas holiday several years agoâ€¦saying it had come straight from the owners of the company and this spectacular tuna wasnâ€™t commercially available yet. It was good. Almost as good as the best Italian tunas I had tasted. I was green with envy and couldnâ€™t wait till it was available to the general public. Turns out, it was the premium tuna of the company, Century Tuna. Yup, the firm with the cheesy â€œyour abdominals will miraculously look like my model figure absâ€ advertisements! Actually, any tuna is considered a great diet foodâ€¦lots of protein and limited fat. It has the good oils as well. But this specially canned tuna is terrific; and at roughly PHP150 a can, pricey but well worth it. The tuna must come from the choicest part of the fish (the belly?) and it isn’t all crumbled and mushed. Preserved in olive oil, it is canned with a slice of carrot possibly for a touch of sweetness, and a bay leaf for aroma and flavor. If you see it at the grocery or specialty food store, make sure you try it. Actually, it has been available in limited quantities for the past two years but I intentionally didnâ€™t write about it for fear it would sell out. I am just happy we have such a quality product locally available. Many of you may not realize it, but the Philippines, along with Indonesia and Thailand, are some of the leading suppliers of tuna for all those millions of cans of tuna sold in the U.S. like Bumble Bee Tunaâ€¦ Oh, and hereâ€™s a final MM/Bond 007 Diet Tipâ€¦ If you want an ultra healthy sandwich, just flake some good tuna add freshly squeezed lemon juice, Tabasco, salt and pepper and put it between two slices of whole wheat breadâ€¦itâ€™s terrific and the lack of mayonnaise makes it really rather good for youâ€¦add sliced tomatoes if you want a little more moisture!