Recipe: Atún playero (beach tuna)

More than a recipe, this is a memory. When I was a little girl, my dad took us to the beach every single Sunday in summer (from December 21st to March 20th – he’s extremely punctual). My mum was, as always, in charge of food. She packed a big container full of tuna sandwiches and two huge soft drink bottles (a Coke and a Inca Kola because tastes in the family were divided). Once in the beach, between swimming and sun-bathing, they bought us snacks: some sort of sweet tuile-like cylinders, delicious natural fruit ice pops (I usually got mango, my sisters and mum loved the coconut ones) and/or regular ice cream. But the highlight for me were the tuna sandwiches.

The sandwich filling is super simple: canned tuna, tomato, red onion, lime juice, salt and pepper. The combination is very tasty but also super moist. My mum made the sandwiches in sliced white bread and by the time we got to eat them the bread was all soggy. Not only that, but the sand in the beach inevitably stuck to the damp bread. Back then I was sometimes annoyed when I chewed on some sand or my sandwich fell apart in my hands, but now I really miss the taste, the smell, the feel, and the whole experience. I don’t miss being a fat kid in the beach, though 🙂

Canned tuna in Australia tastes different from canned tuna in Perú (fish and seafood in general do). But I can trick myself into bringing back those memories with a bit of atún playero (beach tuna), now free of bread… and sand.

Atún playero (beach tuna)
Yield: 2 servings as an entrée

Beach tuna


  • 300 gr canned tuna in springwater
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 limes
  • salt and pepper


  1. Drain tuna.
  2. Seed and chop tomatoes.
  3. Chop onion.
  4. Mix tuna, tomato, onion and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve as an entrée with some greens, maybe throw an avocado or make sandwiches if that’s your thing.

4 thoughts on “Recipe: Atún playero (beach tuna)

  1. Childhood memories are the best, especially when they involve food. inca Cola! I drank so much of that when we were in Peru many years ago.
    Add a little coriander and chilli and this tuna mix could be a ceviche!

    1. Inca Kola is the Peruvian Vegemite… you’re the first foreigner I know who liked it (most find it too sweet).

  2. Oooo! I think I know what I am having for lunch tomorrow! I can no longer stand plain canned tuna (it makes me angry and depressed if I have it for lunch), so I think I shall make this.

  3. I hate canned tuna, but I think your additions would make it much more palatable 🙂

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