Snack Food Review: John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce

ANOTHER snack food review that no one will ever read. If you’re reading this, then leave a comment at the end of this post so I can learn who reads this. First though, read on to see what I make of John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce.

John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce front of tin

With the push to stop the population of the turning into chavvy puddles of lard, every food in the country now has health related symbols on it. John West Mackerel Fillets are no exception. Look closely at the front of the tin, and you’ll see a symbol telling you that this 125g tin will be “Rich in Omega 3 Fish Oils”.

On one of the four sides of the tin, we learn where these fish came from. It turns out that they were “produced” (shouldn’t that be caught?) in Portugal for John West Foods Ltd in Liverpool. Why did they have to come from Portugal instead of from our own fishermen? If you know the answer, do please leave a comment. I’m guessing that your answer may involve the letters E and U and the word “quotas”.

Over on the back of the tin there are all manner of nutritional information.

John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce back of tin

There’s some information how good Omega 3 is for your heart. That the chief ingredient, at 73%, really is mackerel fillets, which is good to know. And that this little can contains all of 275 calories and 20.7 grams of fat. No wander you never see women eating these things.

What will John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce look, smell and taste like? I’ve had them before so I know the answer. But for your benefit, here it is.

John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce opened tin

The tin opens very easily indeed. What’s inside is hard to make out. It doesn’t look like a fish in the way that sardines do when you open a tin of them. Oh well. That must be what “filleting” is.

The curry sauce smell isn’t very strong. Instead, it smells mostly of fish and partly of some kind of sauce. It doesn’t smell of curry at all.

But does it taste of curry sauce? Eating John West Mackerel Fillets in Curry Sauce is delightfully easy. With no bones and gunky bits to remove, you can dig right in without worry. Which is great if, like me, you’re too lazy to do that.

Can I taste any curry? No. If this was made by Brunswick, my eyes would be watering by now. But it’s not so I have hardly any flavour or taste in my mouth. And that makes John West Mackerel Fillets a bland eating experience. The same goes for their other hot and spicy sauce Mackerel Fillets. I’ve tried a few others and they are all similarly bland.

What else am I enjoying? The Mackerel Fillets themselves are a joy to eat. They break up easily with a fork into pieces just the right size for a mouthful.

What else am I not enjoying? They are very very dry. It’s almost exactly the same as eating chicken from over of the hundreds of fast-food chicken outlets that festoon high-streets up and down the land. There needs to be a lot more sauce to stop these fillets from being such a dry experience. Or make sure you have a beer nearby, because you are going to be thirsty by the end of the tin.

To sum up, John West Mackerel Fillets are about the easiest to eat tinned fish products you could buy. With nothing undesirable to remove, you get right into eating them. The downsides are that they’re dry and as flavourless as every other tinned Mackerel Fillet in the John West range. Highly recommended if you want a quick fish based snack, but not if you want flavour.

Have you tried John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce? Do you work for John West? If so, then do please leave a comment here. I’d love to know what you think of these Mackerel Fillets. Also, do you have any requests or recommendations of your own? Then here is the place to add them

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38 Responses to “Snack Food Review: John West Mackerel Fillets In Curry Sauce”

  1. Filipek Says:

    I loved canned fish. Can’t get enough of the stuff! I got the taste when I was a skint student slumming it in Bradford and then on my later round-Europe-with-a-backpack style ramblings. However, I can’t say, even with Bradfordian acquired curry connoisseur skills, that this sounds appetising. Call me old fashioned, but I like my fish to taste of… well, fish. If you’re able and not too snobbish about it, check out Lidl. They actually have really great canned fish – at least in Poland. I understand that in the UK Lidl is considered rather ghetto.

  2. step Says:


    Doesn’t look very nice 😦

  3. Jim Says:

    I buy them in Canada for $3.00/tin (expensive). I eat them with old cheddar cheese on crackers. Great! I find that the amount of sauce is quite variable. Some tins are dry like you describe and some have so much sauce the fish is hard to find! Without the cheese and crackers I would likely prefer the oil packed variety. The mustard sauce is not so good.

  4. Alex Hamilton Says:

    I enjoy mackerel fillets, but not as much as concrete. Or caravans. I had a pet mackerel named Wilford, perhaps he was in the tin you reviewed. Though the open tin pictured looks like the inside of a mooses ballbag. How on earth did you put that in your mouth (and the mackerel).

    I think that you have way too much time on your hands and I believe that all of your reviews are as much use as Anne Franks drumkit.

    Having said that, I can’t wait for your review on pickled eggs, which will also be amazingly exciting.

  5. Andy Dursley Says:

    I must be the only person to find these mackerel fillets delicious. When i see them in a shop I always buy several tins as they are becoming increasingly difficult to find locally. That photo does not do them justice………………..doesnt even look like fish but resembles an old wet sock in gravy………….nothing like my beloved Mackerel in curry.
    As for it tasting bland ……………. well i think they have got the curry just right, not to strong but still tasty and a perfect compliment to the never too dry mackerel. The same but in mustard sauce is also good but not as tasty as the mackerel.

  6. Mickey Says:

    Mackerel fillets in tomato sauce from Lidl are much better than these. The tomato sauce is spiced and very tasty, and the fillets are never dry.

    • Guy Says:

      Agree, Lidl ones are the tastiest. The sauce is a bit thin though. The Aldi ones are extremely good, too, and the sauce is a bit thicker.

  7. michael lockridge Says:

    Actually, I was just trying to learn how to fillet Mackerel. I catch them off of the wharf in Santa Cruz, California. They cook nicely whole, but getting the meat without bones is difficult with such a small whole fish.

    So, I need to learn to fillet these lovely fish so that I get enough meat to make the process worthwhile.

    I haven’t tried them from a tin. It is only a ten minute drive to where I can fish for them fresh, so that is what I do.

  8. feet Says:

    i just had it for the first time yesterday….i know what my paycheck will be spent on from now on

  9. Joel Says:

    I found your page by Googling “fish-based snack” in a failed attempt to find the Men Behaving Badly quote about fish-based snacks.

  10. David Shor Says:

    I’m reading it, to answer your request. I’m an exchange student living in Russia, and found the review helpful…

  11. lisa Says:

    I found this whilst looking around sites in an effort to increase my intake of healthy cheap omega fish oils, i think ill stick to tinned tuna 🙂

  12. dex Says:

    Lidl’s makeral in tomoto sauce is fantastic

  13. Matt Says:

    I really like these on toast.

  14. Tim Says:

    My lunch of the mo consists of these tasty boys on wholewheat toast with a glass of Pepsi Max. Later, if I’m feeling naughty I’ll have a pickled egg inside a pack of prawn cocktail crisps. Who says the English are not a nation of culinary experts?

    ps. Gotta cut down on my net surfing and learn a language or something.

  15. Lexi Says:

    Curried mackeral is fantastic! It’s perfect served mashed in a jacket spud with a small salad on the side to lighten the dish.

  16. Jed Says:

    I find the curry sauce far too bland . Prefer the mustard sauce version on toast , heated under the grill .
    If you’re ever in Portugal try the small cans of Tuna in Piri Piri sauce .
    Wonderful snack with crusty bread rolls .

  17. Phil-G Says:

    I found your site whilst Googling for calorie contents – it gave just the information I needed. I agree that Lidl tinned fish in sauces (there is quite a variety from pepper cream, my favourite, through curry to burgundy) are great, but I think all are high energy, so eat with care.

  18. Max Says:

    I found your site looking for canned mackerel. When I was in France a few years ago, I had the most delicious mackerel in mustard sauce. I have been unable to find it in the US, and I am searching online. Your review of the curry version from John West doesn’t sound very appetising, though I see some comments don’t agree with you. I guess I will just have to try for myself. I am wondering, Are there brands of canned mackerel that you like and recommend?

  19. John Says:

    curried mackerel, on toast, with cheese. John West with Coleraine mature cheddar can not be beaten

  20. S Coker Says:

    i read them!!

  21. Says:

    I discovered these tatsy treats while trying to find a cheap and easy evening meal while working away from home. I eat them with a handful of tiger bread after a session in the gym. I now actualy look forward to my evening meal in my hotel room. Now I can’t find them in the shops! There’s just a space on the shelf at Tesco where they should be. I’ve tried 2 towns , two different shops, same spooky shelf space. Anyone know if they are available on the black market yet?

  22. Ruby Scott Says:

    I eat tinned mackerel in curry sauce every day on a bed of steamed courgettes when I get home from work. I find them delicious and at the moment I have to buy Princes same difference as far as I am concerned. Can’t find John West mackerel in curry sauce at my supermarkets. I buy in bulk just in case they won’t be there. I love them and don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t find them.

  23. Lynne Turner Says:

    I absolutely love these and quick to make into various snacks. Finding then harder to get hold and buy in bulk when ever I see them. Don’t like the Princess version. Anyone know of regular store that keeps them in stock in London, England?

  24. sharon Says:

    hi i love curryed mackrel but have a problem finding it in shops have you stopped making it hope not can you tell me were i can find them has asda and morrisons do no longer sell them x

  25. Says:

    where can i buy j/west mackerel fillets in curry sauce in chester?

  26. PIGGY Says:

    I was just trying to find out if they had bones I have the chillie one for lunch!

  27. Anonymous Says:

    i work in the factory its a really shit nobody eats that sticks uhh
    fish in the floor

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Delicious on rice cakes. Very healthy.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    The John West Mackerel Fillets in Curry Sauce sold in IGA stores in Quebec province, Canada, have different packaging and real yellow curry sauce (not super spicy, but better than what is described above). Very tasty.

  30. Roland Says:

    Hey what’s up fellow tinned fish eater 🙂 People are definitely still reading. I was actually trying to find out if Princes stopped making their Mackerel in curry sauce – the chip shop version doesn’t quite do it for me …neither to their other sauces.
    I’ve tries a few others but I fear I might just have to go back to plain old tuna in brine.

  31. Marcelle Says:

    Yep, people are still reading this 7 years after you posted it! 🙂

  32. RGS Says:

    Still people reading this 😀 I’ve just finished a tin and they weren’t too bad. Probably because I was starving and they were the quickest thing I could find to eat in my cupboard. Think they would have been nice with toast. My husband takes various flavours of these to work and has them with rice. Quick and easy snack I suppose and probably better for you than some snacks.

    • Roland Says:

      Posted this just now but it disappeared so it may come up twice…
      @RGS’s husband has it correct. If he hasn’t yet, tell to try different combinations with Uncle Ben’s rice 🙂 …it’s like gourmet meals in less than 5 mins :-p

  33. Tom A Says:

    Just ate a tin of the Prince’s version of this, which was better than the John West sounds. Mostly, in that the sauce is bright yellow and distinctly chip-shop-curryish, ie sweet and turmericky. I wouldn’t say they were dry, although they’re certainly not juicy – palatable, and perfectly fine. I whacked a load of mustard on to spice it up a bit.

    It’s funny that we see tinned fish as a bit of a last resort. I was just in Barcelona, and there, they’re a delicacy:

    • Roland Says:

      @RGS’s husband has it correct. If he hasn’t yet, tell to try different combinations with Uncle Ben’s rice 🙂 …it’s like gourmet meals in less than 5 mins :-p

  34. Anonymous Says:

    I just finished a can 10 minutes ago. I’m in Sundre, Alberta, Canada and their offering here although “Produced in Portugal” are packaged for and imported by Elco Fine Foods Inc Markam, Ontario, Canada. The package and product differ considerably from your picturedre, we’re swimming in a tasty although mild yellow/orange coloured sauce and as a matter of I fact I planned to purchase a flat today as I quite enjoyed them. If I had a number I could forward pictures via text. Thanks.

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