Day 5 on this cursed journey. Tapatio Flavor day.
I have a long history with Tapatio. It’s one of four sauces always in my fridge. I don’t know why I refrigerate it. I just do. I’ve lived all over the country but when I first moved to Portland, many Portlands ago when the streets were paved with cheap weed and the mighty Willamette ran pure with Pabst Blue Ribbon, I arrived here with my young mouth eager for new flavors and this was the hot sauce on the lips and minds of all Portlanders. Sriracha had not yet gotten a garlicky stranglehold among the mustache-twirling, kombucha drinking legions.
For me, for now, Tapatio is great on almost anything. Almost being the operative word. I’ve never had it on packaged, processed fish.
StarKist in their infinite wisdom apparently knows this, and their corporate flavor machine aims to change that. They’ve caught the tuna, slammed it into a pouch, and marinated it in Tapatio for an undisclosed amount of time.
I don’t know if I want this experience, I just know that the choice is no longer just a choice.
StarKist Tuna Creations – Tapatio (with hint of lime!)
Texture: Ah… we are back into the mushy territory again. Not quite a paste, definitely not a gel, but nearly a homogenous spongy mass anyway. One large flake seems to have survived and is a different texture than the rest of the pouch. Must have been from a brawny tuna. The cats were both asleep but have now awakened. I can hear them upstairs… tentative. They clearly sense my fear.
Smell: Overwhelming. It smells like low tide at a beach no one goes to anymore. Vinegar and fish and something else, something mildly corrosive. I think that’s supposed to be the hint of lime the packaging is so excited about. I’m not nearly as excited. For the first time, the cats don’t bound down the stairs, they descend quietly, one step at a time. This is mildly alarming.
Taste: I have one need out of something advertised as being Tapatio flavor. I require for it to taste like Tapatio. This does not. Nor does it taste like it has a hint of lime. Sigh. It tastes exactly like it smells. Like growing up on an island when the bears are out hunting salmon and leaving the corpses to bake in the sun while the tiny crabs finish the rest. That’s this taste. What it does have going for it is that it’s very spicy. It’s comically spicy because oddly enough it’s spicer than Tapatio right out of the bottle. I don’t… what? How?
The cats will have none of this, out of pure common sense. They seem interested but also just annoyed with me. They get tiny pieces of chicken instead and all is well in their fuzzy world again.
My rating will be based on the assumption that if you buy this you enjoy the idea of spicy tuna and also like Tapatio. You’ll get a lot of one and none of the other. Just bring a bottle of Tapatio and regular tuna if that’s what want because inside this little parcel of fish is only spicy, no flavor.
Thusly my rating is a middling 5
Next up! StarKist Tuna Creations with Rice & Beans (what the fuck man, what the fuck).