Philly’s Next Big Food Trend Is … Canned Fish

Think of it as charcuterie 2.0.

canned fish

Canned fish is Philly’s hot new food trend. Photograph by Claudia Gavin

Philadelphia’s next big food trend isn’t fresh or local.

What’s New

You can think of canned fish as charcuterie 2.0, in that the once lowbrow product — hi, Chicken of the Sea! — is now artisanal and sustainable and makes for the ideal shareable starter. Having found its way here from Europe — the most lauded stuff comes out of Spain and Portugal, where it’s referred to as “conserva” — it’s best served with crackers, spices and spreads so you can DIY your own dreamy bite.

Where to Try It

Jennifer Sabatino, GM at Manatawny Still Works’ tasting room (1603 East Passyunk Avenue, East Passyunk), has put together a menu of seven canned fish options, including Portuguese sardines in olive oil with homemade kettle chips and chimichurri; smoked mussels with olive oil, broth and hot sauce; and albacore tuna with cream cheese and sweet hot peppers. (The saltiness of the fish? Pretty perfect with an order of Manatawny’s Peated whiskey, on the rocks.)

Where to Buy It

Di Bruno Bros. and Riverwards Produce Market sell upmarket white tuna by Conservas Ortiz from Spain as well as some interesting canned fish pâtés (like sardines with olive oil, tomato, vinegar and spices) from Portuguese producer Jose Gourmet. But mostly, great tinned fish is still hard to find locally. Try recipe/e-store Food52 for octopus, squid, sardines and mackerel — straight from the best purveyors in Europe.

Published as “Tin City” in the June 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.