When I started down this path, it was as I do most things. With wild abandon and glee. Anyone who knows me knows how gleeful I am.
I figured I’d suffer from Ranch. I just know the prepackaged tuna salad is going to be like licking the devil’s fragrant armpit, but I didn’t know how creative the team at StarKist was. I genuinely did not expect to stumble on “Spicy Korean Style” tuna in a pouch.
It’s a new day though, and here I am standing barefoot in my kitchen staring at that stupid blue cartoon fish wearing its stupid red hat.
I don’t know much about Korean flavors if I’m honest. It’s probably one of the cuisines I should explore more. I’ve enjoyed a bibimbap, and I can get behind kimchi. I’ve done a bit of research (as any good fish reviewer would) and I’ve learned that Gochujang is a fermented chili paste, which is perfect for me because I don’t have nearly enough fermentation in my life at the moment.
You know what? Maybe my flavor ignorance is a good thing. As Andy Dufresne said to Red: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of the things. And no good thing ever dies.”
So I hope. I hope my tongue doesn’t snake its way down my throat choking me to death in protest. I hope.
StarKist Tuna Creations Spicy Korean Style (with Gochujang):
Texture: Well I’ve had some truly odd experiences with fish texture so far but this is relatively tame. Much closer to tuna you’d get in a can. If anything it’s a little watery, but it’s not offensive. It is a deeply unhealthy color I doubt the photo really shows. I expected reddish. This is almost perfectly purple.
Smell: Oh. Huh. I smelled this and my stomach had a mild seizure. I’m not a young man but this is my first gustatory earthquake. You have the expected wafts of fish, peppers of some sort, onions. There is something else here, something primordial. Something that hints at malevolence. I think I’ll put it in my mouth.
The cats have done their traditional fuzzy cascade down the stairs but are eerily silent.
Taste: I don’t know why this exists. Maybe to confuse people. Maybe to scare people away from ever eating tuna as a conservation effort. Initially, it’s mildly sweet, then it’s mildly spicy. I don’t mind either. Then suddenly it’s as though someone slid a filthy spectral finger into your mouth. A third, strident flavor comes through mingling with fish, enhancing only the worst aspects of it. I have to assume this is the fermentation that was mentioned. The resulting flavor in my mouth is an enduring, unending, and relentless evil.
The cats have utterly lost interest while watching me eat. I give them Friskies cat treats instead and I find myself feeling mildly jealous of them.
I believe this should exist, but only as an instrument of chaos, not a convenience food. Twenty minutes later and the taste still lingers. This aftertaste may be all I ever taste again.
Verdict: This gets 3 for sheer novelty. It’s advertised as flavored and it’s not lying. It’s flavored. It’s still better than ranch.
Next up in this circus of horrors? Tapatio Flavor. It can’t be bad, can it? Tapatio is great. Don’t ruin this for me StarKist.