Wild Planet is decent. $2.79/can at Fresh & Easy. A few cents cheaper at some online places ($2.23 on Amazon). Here's an interesting write-up:
I must admit that Wild Planetâ€™s failure to disclose where their sardines are packed and processed, as well as their decision to have then "lightly smoked" predisposed me against them, but my palate is always the final arbiter. The green tint of the extra virgin olive oil did make me happy, but the arrangement of the sardines was somewhat less than appealing. Being used to the sight of silvery sardine skin and with little but their black backs showing in the just-opened can, they looked like baby eels. Given the amount of unappealing brown liquid in the can with the green oil, I believe that they use a one stage cooking process. My first bite after I poured off the liquid yielded a disturbingly strong taste of â€˜fakeâ€™ smoke and bitterness. With extended exposure to the air, the flesh yielded a pleasant, mild smokiness, and I also discovered that it was the dark part of the skin that was bitter. â€œAqueous natural smokeâ€ is â€˜liquidâ€™ smoke flavoring developed by food chemists in any number of strengths that is added to the can in lieu of actually smoking the fish as they do in Northern Europe. (The food chemists and fish canning companies have convinced those in charge in this country that the use of â€˜aqueous natural smokeâ€™ and actual â€˜wood smokingâ€™ produce the exact same effect on the palate, and so they are allowed to use the phrase â€˜smokedâ€™ on the label even though the fish isnâ€™t actually smoked, although they must then list â€˜aqueous natural smokeâ€™ as an ingredient.) The fish had a pretty good texture given the fact that it had been frozen to make the journey from California to Vietnam. I tried a second can to confirm my initial impressions, and the â€˜fake smokeâ€™ and â€˜bitternessâ€™ were even more pronounced.
These are "Pacific sardines, Sardinops sagax." Apparently Sardina pilchardus (aka, Portuguese sardines) are the best.
Anyone else have any comments/suggestions?