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Curious why SPAM is so popular in Hawaii?

• General: Educational • General: Guide • General: History

What's the deal with SPAM is in Hawaii? And what's this SPAM Musubi all about?

A Lesson In Spam (The Food!)

In recent years, spam (or SPAM) has become synonymous with computer usage. The word has been used to refer to unsolicited mail, usually in the form of email, that gets sent to a person's mailbox by an unauthorized sender. It's junk mail. Spam is incredibly annoying, so much so in fact that many people have forgotten it also refers to an actual food.

Spam (the food) is a mixed-meat product that dates back many decades. Still coming in a little metallic tin, the product is popular with many people around the world, but perhaps unusually, very popular with Hawaiians.

The History Of Spam In Hawaii

You could be forgiven for thinking that Spam grows on trees in Hawaii. It's so common here that it seems unimaginable it wasn't once a staple of a Hawaiian meal.

The true history of Spam in Hawaii dates all the way back to World War II. Because of its long-lasting properties, Spam was fed to the GI's based on the islands in order to keep their strength up and help them remain nourished. As a great form of protein, the product was used frequently, and soon became a part of many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

Loved By The Local Culture

After the war had finished, this meaty product had been introduced to most parts of the island, and had gained admirers everywhere it went. Its versatility and cheap price meant that Hawaiians and those located in Hawaii could enjoy a meat addition to their meal that was tasty and didn't break the bank.

Fried Spam and rice became one of the most popular uses for the product, alongside the timeless Spam and eggs.

Spam Musubi

In typical Hawaiian style, locals wanted to experiment more with one of their most loved grocery store products. This was the motivation behind the development of Spam Musubi, a deliciously inventive dish. Spam Musubi became big in the 1980s, and soon became synonymous with Hawaiian cuisine.

The dish is easy to make, yet has a very distinct flavor which leaves many locals and tourists hooked. It can be made by slicing up Spam, laying it on a bed of rice, adding hot sauce sauce, and wrapping it in nori (an edible seaweed). It has a sushi-like vibe to it, yet manages to remain distinctly Hawaiian. Today, Spam Musubi can be found all around the island. It's as much a part of Hawaii as the beaches and picturesque scenery.

Try Some!

Hawaii is one of the biggest markets for Spam. As popularity of the product has dwindled in some countries, in Hawaii it remains as popular as ever. Perhaps that's because it's still as affordable, versatile, and as easy to use as it always was.

If traveling to Hawaii, Spam Musubi is one of the things many locals recommend that you try. You're also likely to find it served in other ways, too. A hotel breakfast of Spam and rice is also a possibility, as is a pasta dish containing the meat product.