Tinned Fish Mania

Tinned Fish Mania

Forget steak or oysters, the hottest date night dinner comes straight from a tin...

For many, seafood in a tin conjures memories of soggy tuna sweetcorn sandwiches, or dusty cans of pilchards your grandmother fed her mangy mog. There’s an antiquated, sepia-stained vision of tinned fish like it’s something we might prize open in the Anderson shelter whilst listening to Vera Lynn.

It's time you put those memories in a box and dumped them out at sea. Tinned seafood is officially now hot.



There’s a phrase coined on TikTok, where things are hot girl-ified. Like have you heard about this hot girl walk? If you haven’t it’s just a walk... but also, it’s a movement to get women outside and feeling confident. Or the hot girl summer? Again, a trend for when the clocks change is as inexpensive as presenting the ‘hottest’ or most self-assured version of yourself.

Well, according to TikTok tinned seafood has become the new ‘hot girl snack’.

It started when Ali Hooke, American chef and content creator, went viral with her TikTok series where she shares weekly “tinned fish date night”, at home with her hubby. Hooke was working late, and looking after their new-born son, so getting a moment alone together with her husband grew increasingly rare. In those odd moments they could snatch alone they shared a romantic meal that was as simple as opening a bottle of wine, buttering some bread, and peeling back the lid of a tin.

It’s safe to say the internet just went crazy. The hashtag #tinfishdatenight has now reached 45.8 million views. That’s a lot.

And an entire trend was born. Mayfair restaurants started serving tins with bread for starters with eye-watering £50 price tags. Food writers across the world furiously stroked their keyboards to produce articles and blogs heralding the unusual trend. Tinned fish even featured in Vogue. Whilst fashion label Urban Outfitter produced a “retro” print tinned-sardine shift dress which sold out almost instantly. And elite design brand Bottega Veneta earlier this year released a “Sardine” bag with a price tag of over £3000.



Of course, the world hasn’t gone gaga for granny’s old sardines. Instead, it’s the exotic tins of Spain and Portugal where small fishing towns have for decades treated the process of fish canning as an art form.

Browse the aisles of any Spanish delicatessen and you’ll see colourful displays of tinned seafood far more exotic than simply tinned salmon or tuna, but instead things like mussels, octopus, razor clams, or sea urchin.

Continental Europe has prized canning as a way of preserving seasonal fish when they are at their peak condition and freshness. Using quality olive oils, and escabeche (a traditional herby-vinegar pickle) to preserve the seafood.

Tinned seafood is enjoyed across Europe as a simple tapas, or in salads, pastas, or on spelt crackers. While the true traditionalist simply upturns their tin into a bowl and tucks in with a fork.



It’s safe to say in the UK and North America we’ve been slow to get on the wave of treating fish in a can as something to be celebrated. But thanks to the trend-setting hot girl snackers it seems it’s finally happening.

At Rockfish our tinned seafood project started as an experiment. We wanted to put a British twist on the conservas that our European cousins prized so highly.

We adore sardines and have always loved the gorgeously buttery Mount’s Bay sardines which are caught sustainably off the coast of Cornwall – so we thought why not put them in a tin?

Quickly our experiment extended to Lyme Bay rope-grown mussels – possibly the most sustainable food you will ever eat.

Cuttlefish which is caught a skimming stone’s throw from our Brixham HQ, which we preserve in its ink with tomatoes and herbs to give it a delicate and delicious seaweedy tang.

Line caught Cornish mackerel. Plump, and packed with health-giving omega-3 oils - exactly what all hot girls want (and boys.)

And of course, very special MSC-certified Cantabrian tuna. These northern bonito tunas are caught individually by rod and line during a very short season that lasts just 3 weeks each year in controlled waters in Northern Spain. They are then expertly filleted by hand and tinned in a delicious olive oil.

What started as an experiment has now flourished to become something truly world-class. If you’re looking for a bang-on-trend date night, a quick and easy starter, or just a lunch on the hoof why not try Britain’s contender in this gloriously exciting brave new world of tinned fish mania?