It’s got protein, oil, a little sugar and very little bad fat. It comes in small tins, or light pouches. Tuna. It’s hard to argue with tuna as a trail snack. That is, unless you don’t like tuna, in which case it is just gag inducing. Dan likes tuna. Meena not so much. Dan has taken tuna pouches on the trail and happily sat on a ledge drinking juice and spooning wonderful, oily chunkfuls of tuna into his mouth, while Meena has sat there holding her nose wishing she were a thousand miles away.
So, we searched for a compromise – tuna that does not taste or smell quite like, you know, tuna. This is tough to find, so we turned to H Mart, the Korean grocery store located in Burlington, Mass. We figured Asian tuna would be fishy, yes, but also spicy and may, therefore, hide some of the tuna smell, while providing the basic tuna ingredients.
May we present – Dongwon Tuna with Hot Pepper Sauce! Yes, that is actually the company’s name, stop laughing!
For about $1.99 this 5.3 ounce tin offered about 200 calories, and a fair amount of protein. We figured the extra calories came from the Hot Pepper Sauce – gleefully listed on the can as, you guessed it, hot pepper sauce! Also, amazingly, this tuna came with potato, garlic and carrots. Huh?
Anyway, a little about Dongwon. Based in Seoul, Korea, this little gem of a company specializes in canned fish products, mainly tuna. And by little company, we mean super-giant-mega-multi-national corporation. Here’s what CEO of Dongwon, Kim Hae-Kwan, has to say about his company, in typically humorous badly translated English, “Dongwong F&B promises to continue providing the safer and healthier food products to our customers as we have until today, so that we can reborn as the healthiest Korean food company in this 21st century.” If you’d like to read more about Dongwon, the website is: http://www.dw.co.kr/english/index.htm
Oh, by the way, dear readers, lest you look down on Dongwon, the next time you pick up your can of Charlie the Tuna, you can thank Mr. Hae-Kwan. That’s right, Sunkist is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dongwon.
Back to the Hot Pepper Sauce Tuna.
Dan was pleasantly surprised overall. While not terribly “hot” by most Korean food standards, the sauce did add some zing to the tuna chunks, and the potato and carrot bits were actually really tasty – kind of like Chunky soup only with tuna instead of beef. And though the sauce did skew a little toward marinara texture, the addition of garlic gave it a nice smoky flavor. The obvious shortcoming was the tin, which rendered the snack impractical for the trail, and obviously $1.99 per tin is pricey for a can of tuna, but as a special treat or maybe a car camp weekend, Dongwon’s Hot Pepper Sauce Tuna hit the spot.
Meena took one sniff after opening the can, and ran into the other room. After several minutes of pleading and knocking on the locked door by Dan, she agreed to take a bite, which was followed by furious hand gesticulating near her mouth, much spitting sounds and other words better left unsaid.
The cat also refused to eat the Hot Pepper Sauce Tuna.
So, to sum up – if you like tuna, you’ll like this. If you don’t like tuna, maybe it’s best to stay away.
When given the choice between Dongwon and Friskies, the cat choose Friskies. Dan however, selected Dongwon