You are spoilt for choice with canned tuna in Singapore, with so many brands available. We’re trying three popular brands in Singapore to discover which makes the best Yakimeshi or Japanese family-style fried rice. You can read this review – or watch the video review here:
But is canned tuna healthy?
Tuna is a powerhouse of essential nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, B6 and B12 and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
If you’re pregnant or planning for a baby, it’s important to eat omega-3 fatty acids because it helps the baby’s brain and eye development.
But large deep-sea fishes may contain mercury, a toxic heavy metal. So the US Food and Drug Administration recommends pregnant women eat no more than 3 servings (or 300 grams) per week of any cooked fish or shellfish.
The bigger the fish, the more mercury. Skipjack tuna is the smallest tuna, so it’s potentially the safest. Pregnant women should avoid other big fish such as Albacore tuna, shark, swordfish, king mackerel or “batang fish”.
Safe DHA sources include omega-3 fortified eggs, salmon, sardines, herring, halibut and canned light tuna — which is often Skipjack
How our review works
We’ll test three brands of canned tuna and ask: How do they compare in weight after we drain out all of the liquid? How do they compare in appearance and texture? How do they taste? And do they fry well?
Tuna is canned in water or oil to keep its shape and texture. Let’s compare the look and weight of the tuna after we drain out the liquid.
Ayam Brand Wild Caught Tuna Chunks in Water, $2.65 (108 g)
Gold Seas Yellowfin Tuna Chunks in Springwater, $2.65 (118 g)
Farmland Skipjack Tuna Chunks in Brine,$2.20 (136 g)
*Prices are correct as of July 2020.
- Light pinkish-beige flesh
- Possess a firm and “steaky” texture
- Its drained weight is 108 grams
- Lighter coloured flesh
- Packed with larger pieces
- Also features a firm and “steak-y” texture
- Weighs 118 grams without its liquid
- Darkest in colour
- Packed with smaller and flakier pieces
- Heaviest of all, it weighs 136 grams without liquid
How do these brands of canned tuna compare in taste?
- Mild in flavour
- Not too salty
- Ideal to eat straight out of the can or in salads and sandwiches
- Tastes more dry in the mouth
- Features a hint of sweet caramel flavour which stands out
- Sweetness makes this a good choice to fry
- The softest bite
- Stronger fish flavour
- Ideal as an ingredient to cook and bake with
Do these canned tuna fry well?
Now let’s test the canned tuna as the main ingredient in Yakimeshi Japanese fried rice recipe. You can find the full recipe here.
Ayam Brand Yakimeshi
- Tuna is light pinkish in colour
- Tuna has retained its firm texture, and is a little more dry
- A great base if you like to add sambal or mayo to fried rice
Gold Seas Yakimeshi
- Keeps its light beige colour
- Flakes easily into smaller tender pieces
- Sweet-tasting flavour will be popular with kids
- Features darkest meat of the tuna we tested
- Tuna has fried up nicely into smaller, flakier pieces
- Has the stronger flavour and softest bite, so it will be a hit with fish fans
Skipjack or Yellowfin tuna – what’s the difference?
- Skipjack is the smallest tuna, and the one most commonly used for canned tuna. It’s mainly sold as “canned light” or “chunk light” tuna.
- Skipjack and Yellowfin are considered sustainable fish by eco-experts. They live in all tropical seas around the world.
- In comparison, Bluefin tuna is endangered, and should be avoided.
- Yellowfin (also called Ahi) is often preferred for raw dishes and sushi due to its delicate taste and smooth texture.
- But when it comes to fried or grilled dishes, many sushi restaurants use either Skipjack tuna or Yellowfin tuna – because they taste similar when cooked.
Real Life Review:
Ayam Brand tuna, Gold Seas Tuna, Farmland Tuna
3 Must-Know Facts:
- Skipjack is the most common canned tuna. It’s mainly sold as “canned light” or “chunk light” tuna.
- Raw, good-quality Skipjack tuna is deep red. Smaller fish are lighter red. Cooked Skipjack becomes light beige/pink grey.
- For fried or grilled dishes, many restaurants use either Skipjack or Yellowfin tuna, because they taste similar when cooked.
All the canned tuna brands we tried made tasty Yakimeshi. Canned tuna easily adds flavour and nutrition to leftover rice. Some brands add flavourings like chilli and herbs to make it even easier to whip up family dinners. We call canned tuna a pantry staple.
Meet our reviewer: Trish Caddy is a trained restaurant chef and a food trend analyst. Raised in Singapore and England, she is proud of her Cantonese and British heritage and loves all kinds of Asian and Singaporean cuisine and fusion food. You can see more of her food experiments at @dishheads on Instagram.