The Tale of Sardine Sandwich

I’m quite bored with politics, and since today is weekend, and a very special day to me, so I’m not going to talk about politic. Well, at least not yet. I’m going to talk about sardine, specifically sardine/mackerel sandwich. In the west, they have peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but in Malaysia, we have sardine sandwich.

So, here goes…How many of you guys out there can eat sardine/mackerel sandwich with onions without feeling like throwing up? Sardines are known to be quite smelly and not tasty if not handled in a right way. I know that there are a lot of you out there who don’t like to eat sardines because of the smelliness of it, but sardine sandwich is definitely a nostalgic comfort food to me. When I was younger my mom would prepare sardine sandwich occasionally and toss it in my lunch box so that I can enjoy it during recess in school.

Most of my friends would go “Eww” at it because they simply find it not their taste. And so, while most of my friends usually have fried rice with nice aromas in their lunch box, I will occasionally have the rich in calcium and protein sardine sandwich complete with the sardine and onion odour that will make most of my peers stay a few metre away from me during recess, and during class.

There’s this tradition back then among school kids, which is exchanging/sharing homemade packed up lunch during recess. We can go on and on comparing whose mom cook the best fried rice, or whose mom’s fried koay teow or beehoon can be considered world’s class but each time I bring sardine sandwich to school, not much wanted to give take it and give it a taste. It is actually a good thing, because sometimes, I don’t get to eat enough during recess because once in a while, I will share my lunch box with friends and classmates who prefers to eat my food instead of eating their own.

Usually, if I bring fried rice or noodles, I’ll only get to eat a few spoonfulls because some friends would want to ‘taste’ it a bit. Unfortunately, they don’t just ‘taste’ it, but they eat the whole Tupperware of the things I brought to school. Children can be such glutton at times. My mom must be a genius that she added sardine sandwich to my lunch box menu so that I could eat more in school instead of letting my peers eating my lunch out of their persuasion.

Some may say that sardine sandwich is quite disgusting, but actually, it’s quite comforting. It’s comforting to me, as it never failed to bring me the ‘feel good feelings’. Each time I eat it, I’ll remember the good times my family have together. Some may say that sardine sandwich is nothing special and not worth mentioning. People would say that a blogger should mention expensive food they had in restaurant or something, but it’s not other food like chicken chops or expensive steaks that my mother pack up for my recess or during family picnic trips, but it’s sardine sandwich. That alone makes the dish very special. It’s so special that I want to share the recipe with all of you. It’s MY version though, because no matter how hard I try, I cannot imitate or duplicate my mom’s sandwich. The taste simply doesn’t taste the same. And so, I created my own. This is the recipe:

Cleffairy’s Toasted Sardine Sandwich

1 can of sardine/mackerel in tomato sauce

1 loaf of bread


1 lime

1 red chilli, chopped

1 yellow onion chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Mash the sardine in tomato sauce with a fork in a bowl. Remove the bones if you like, but if you mash the bones well, it’s edible. Add chopped yellow onions and chillies (quantity as you prefer), and squeeze some lime juice into the mixture and add come salt and pepper to taste. Mix them all up. Then spread some margarine( or mayonnaise if you like) on two slice of bread and put the sandwich filling on it evenly and toast them to perfection by using sandwich maker. If you’re a cheese lover, you can add some mozzarella or cheddar cheese to get the ‘pizza-like’ texture. Served it warm and polish it down with coffee, tea or lemonade.There, now you have a nice and warm comfort food of your own. Cooking preparation takes 15 minutes, serves 2.

I’m sure, and truly convinced that even though many of you guys out there have various eating out experience and constantly blog and brag on how delicious or how affordable it is, there must be at least one dish that you can never buy in a restaurant, which is your wife, mother or even grandmother’s comfort food. Well, mine is Sardine/Mackerel sandwich because it reminds me of my mother’s love. What’s yours? Do share with me. I’m sure you have a comfort food of your own, and there’s a story behind each of it.

Cleffairy: One might wonder why I mention that today is a very special day to me. It’s very special to me, dear readers, because if not because my mom was born on this very date 49 years ago, I wouldn’t be here here writing and sharing my stories with you. So, mom, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you’re the greatest mom ever. (And you feed me well too) Muacks.



  1. dating a minor in canada says:

    Cleff, wish your mom ‘Happy Birthday’
    My mom used to make me the same sandwich for school too. Mmmmm I love the taste. Thks for reminding me the recipe.

    I used to tag along my mom when she visit the wet market. Nowadays I always look forward to my Saturday visits to the wet market. You can check out my post on wet market at tri cities wa dating

    Aiyo, you forgot Daddy’s cooking lah! LOL

  2. ktx says:

    happy bday cleffairy, and many happy returns. tell her to go get a bowl of ayer itam laksa, on me. hey…sardine and laksa go hand in hand huh? lol.

  3. ahfu says:

    seldom eat sandwich….
    anyway happy belated birthday to your mom… ops i havent called back since i came to singapore 2mths ago…. i am not a good son 🙁

  4. cleffairy says:

    *sighhhh* Long weekend, I had a dinner date with my dad and my hubby. My two most favourite men. Hehe. LOL, Pete, I think the spam blocker blocked your comment because of the link. 🙁 I de-spammed it, so that you can share your link with everyone here. Paiseh, paiseh. Whoa…you like to tag along to the wet market with your mom? As a kid, I’d kill not to go to the wetmarket with my mom, dad or grandfather. The stinking smell of fish makes me want to puke, but I got over it…cuz now, every now and den, I’ll go on my aunty mode and go to the wet market to get my groceries supplies. Wet market rocks when you wanna prepare fresh dishes. Strange on how people grow up to be. I did give my mom a call and wish her happy birthday since she can’t follow my dad to KL . Too bad she can’t come, it would have been a blast. Daddy’s cooking? Err…my dad cannot cook. Haha…typical male…he can only fry eggs and some fried rice, the rest, I’m not so sure. You used to have sardine sandwich too? It’s great, isn’t it? LOL.

    ktx, thank you for the birthday wishes for my mom. Haha, my mom harr, she almost never eat out unless my father dragged her to eat outside. She’s a great cook, and I doubt she will like laksa outside…I can almost hear her complain “So many bones lah, stupid ppl, dono how to make the soup thicker issit! Where the hell is the prawn paste? And why they never put pineapple, so stingy!” Haha…yes… the greatest food critique ever. 😛

    Seng…hmmm…your jie bday is next month, really coming soon liao…remember horrr! Must remember…MUAHAHAHAHA!

    Amoker, thank you for the birthday wishes. How are you these days? haven’t seen you around. Take care and take things easy, k? 😀

    AhFu… you seldom eat sandwich? Whoa…you must be big eater then. I eat sandwitch quite often, cuz it’s convenient and very filling too. Hmm, give your mom a call then, I’m sure she’ll be happy to catch up with you. 😀

  5. roses says:

    happy belated buffday to cleffy’s mom…and a hug from me too for being late of bday wishes..

    sardine?!? i seriously hate the fishy smell n taste..but i might consider eating this to avoid peers i hate. onions and fishy smell—smashingly delightful..

    i dont have a particular favourite food of my mom’s but ALLLLLL of her food.
    i used to take for granted of her dishes back in THOSE days…but after i was away for 4yrs to study, i grew to miss n love her that i am at home waiting to work, i spit on food outside..
    and every dishes to me has its’ own story..a story of memory.

  6. KevinP says:

    aiya.. I love sardine with loads of onions… you know… riding in the LRT can be like sardines too.. and the onion comes in a form when people raise their arms… leaving the aroma of the armpits to permeate the air…….

    anyway don’t let that dampen the idea of good sandwiches.. 🙂

  7. cleffairy says:

    Haha, Rose, actually the sardine sandwich is a good remedy if you want to get rid of irritating peers. Like you, I love all of my mom’s cooking too, but sardine sandwich bears a lot of memories in it, considering that’s one of the thing we could eat last time without upsetting our budget. My family’s economy used to be mediocre in comparison to now. Now it’s a lot better.
    We takes a lot of things for granted, isn’t it? These days I eat my own cooking til very sien. 🙁

    Kevin, you love it too? It’s nice, isn’t it, if you know how to make it properly. LOL…riding LRT is more worst than sardine sandwich lah…it’s like riding in an old shoe…all stinking and sweaty odour is there for us to smell.

  8. Calvin says:

    HAPPY BORNDAY dear aunty……im bacckkkkkk!!!!! hehehehe. talk about the good ol days. sardine is one of my fav fish. its not just because of its rich contents of iron and protein, its oso because of the “not leceh” type of food that you can prepare in a jiffy. my mom used to buy lots and lots of sardine cans at home. whenever im in a hurry for school…(bangun lambat lah), i’ll just whif out the sardine can and stuff them in our home made bread and scurry off to school. and yes, my mouth stinks of sardine when im in class…they used to call me mc d’s fish-o-fillet. hahaha….

  9. cleffairy says:

    LOL, Calvin…welcome back. I was asking Pete in his blog wheter you get to meet him. Yalorr, sardine is nice what? I like em not because of the taste too, but i can get rid of bullies in my schooldays just by talking. Onion breath and sardine, fuiyoo…, everyone run. Den summore, back then, a lot of families also economy not so good, so sardine is on the menu often. Sometimes, my mom not only made sardine sandwich, but also sambal sardine to go with rice. Or some sardine fillings with cubed potatoes to go with homemade roti canai or chappati. they may not smell nice, but it’s sure comforting to the stomach. Haha.

  10. salina says:

    hye there,i have read your tale about the sardine sandwich…well,like just say that my fav food in this world is sardine sandwich n i also just like you
    i love sardine bcoz of my mom…she make sardine sandwich the best 2…
    i also wanted to wish ur mom a belate happy birthday….^_^

  11. Lin says:

    thanks for the recipe! i tried it today. it was easy to make and it tasted great!

    i’ll have to try another one soon!

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