In Praise Of

Chunk Light Tuna Fish

From a very young age I’ve been a fan of tuna fish. I admit that’s a strange thing to say, but it’s true. For a whole year as a child I ate tuna fish sandwiches. For over 20 years tuna has played a big part of my life. And of course because it’s me I can’t just eat any tuna. I have to make things difficult.

The two major types of canned tuna are albacore and chunk light. While Albacore is an actually type of fish, chunk light is more of a grab bag of non-white tuna. A lot of it will come from Skipjack, another species in the tuna family, but it’s not as specific as albacore. The albacore canned tuna is more mild and tends to be denser (firmer) than it’s chunk light brothers. Chunk light is more pungent and often blends into a smoother texture. So where do I fall? Chunk light all the way. I find the flavor to be rich and powerful while albacore tastes bland and boring. You can really taste the fish (in a good way) with chunk light tuna. Not that it particularly matters to me, but chunk light also generally has a lower mercury count (it’s also cheaper…).


So that seemed easy. I made my choice chunk light over albacore what’s the big deal. I’ll take the pickiness one step further and tell you that not just any chunk light tuna from the supermarket will do. I was raised on Geisha brand tuna. And since that early age that has been my favorite tuna. Maybe this has to do with some nostalgia factor (you’ll find that for many people that way they had certain things growing up is now the only way they can eat things) or maybe it just is the best, it’s hard to say. Whatever the reason Starkist or Bumblebee for me just won’t do. Geisha is the tuna for me. For years when my parents would visit or I would go home, I’d stock up on the stuff. In doing some research for this article I discovered you can buy it online and I just very well might do that.

But after all this time I found a tuna that I can enjoy almost as much as my beloved Geisha brand. And it comes from an unlikely source. You see all this time I was missing out on generic Safeway brand chunk light tuna. Maybe this had to do with my snobbery or my inability to fathom that a generic tuna could live up to my expectations. But in fact, it’s quite good. It has the flavor and texture to compare with the best can of Geisha. Mix in a little mayo, chop a little celery, and you’re in business.

Next time you’re staring at those stacks of tuna cans, give Safeway brand a try. I’m glad I did. 

One Response to Chunk Light Tuna Fish

  1. Pessay says:

    Have you had much tuna salad at restaurants in and around DC, or is your tuna experience restricted to home cooking?

    I’d love to see a post on the best tuna salads in the DMV!

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