Ever since tinned fish was deemed an unofficial “hot girl” food during the summer of 2022, the convenient snack has continued to swim its way onto our social media feeds. If you haven’t hopped on the tinned fish wave yet, you should know that it’s not too late. Much like its shelf life, the cultural relevance of tinned fish seems to be nearly non-perishable. And its latest entry onto our feeds just might be the cutest one yet. Enter: tinned fish date night.
The trend began as a wholesome TikTok series from creator and chef @alihooke, who shared that she and her husband have made a tradition of celebrating “tinned fish date night” every Friday. After posting her first tinned fish date night video on July 27, the video quickly gained over 15.2K views. Soon after, the video inspired foodie TikTok’s latest niche trend. Followers began asking Hooke for tinned fish recommendations and started posting their variations of the tinned fish date night snack board. Now, the hashtag #tinnedfish has racked up 8.1M views on TikTok — with the trend’s #tinnedfishdatenight boasting 7.4M views.
Part of the virality of the trend may just be its sheer simplicity. All that TikTokers need to recreate a tinned fish night is a few cans of seafood, other finger foods of their choosing, and a partner (or friend) to enjoy it with. Think of it as a charcuterie board but with some salty, preserved fish instead of cured meats. Many users are pairing their fish with bread, olives, pickles, and other fruits and veggies. For an elaborate seafood dinner, it’s deceptively easy to pull off.
Whether you’re eager to curate your own tinned fish date night, or have never tried tinned fish in your life, here’s everything you need to know about the wholesome trend.
What Is Tinned Fish?
Based on TikTokers’ variations of spreads, the tinned fish date night is truly what you make it. Of course, the crucial element is the tinned fish itself. If you’re unfamiliar with the dish, it’s exactly what it sounds like: some form of seafood that is preserved, typically in oil, and sealed in a can. Thrillist reports that tinned fish was created in France in the 1700s as a way to ensure sailors could safely access nutrients while traveling. Today, some of the most popular tinned fish brands include Fishwife, Nuri, and Patagonia Provisions. Sorry, Chicken of the Sea. People still just can’t tell if you’re chicken or tuna.
How To Make A Tinned Fish Date Night Board
Hooke’s most frequent star on her tinned fish board seems to be canned mussels, as they make an appearance in nearly all of her videos. However, Hooke (and her tinned fish date night disciples) have curated a wide variety of tinned fish on their snack boards, from clams to tuna belly filets to squid. While there’s plenty of tinned fish that can be a bit costly (a three-pack of smoked salmon from Fishwife costs $32.99), the best part of tinned fish date night is that it can easily be pulled off with budget-friendly options. Below, user @t_tiks shows how they curated an entire tinned fish date night for under $30 while still stocking their board with various kinds of cheese, tinned mussels, and hot honey.
Most tinned fish date night enthusiasts use bread as a conduit for their tinned fish. You can also add a base like cheese or a garnish like pickles or olives. Of course, as one often does with seafood, many also opt for a chilled glass of wine to wash it all down. (Or, better yet, why not pair with a briny cocktail like the TikTok-viral pickle martini?)
If eating tinned fish directly out of the can doesn’t seem like your thing, you can always use tinned fish as a creative way to elevate your cooking. You can use your tinned mackerel to upgrade a pasta dish, potato salad, or even a pizza. Opt for a tuna salad for easy dipping or as the base of a sandwich. Fishcakes are an easy weeknight dinner you can make from canned sardines. The possibilities are endless, so date night awaits.