Hawaii loves spam. I love spam. YOMYOMF loves spam. But, why is this canned meat so popular in the 50th state? Zagat explains it all in this informative video, interviewing historians, local chefs and food writers. It’s a fun mini-doc and yes, it makes me want to eat some spam. And eggs. And rice. Time for a midnight snack….
Whether you’re into surfing, non-stop shopping, or peeping at a beach, you still need to eat. Food in touristy Waikiki is a greater challenge than you think. Places are everywhere, surrounded by every luxury brand and corporate restaurant battling for your bandwidth by advertising.
I’ve been to Hawaii over a dozen times and although I’m always on the search for new experiences in food, I’ve visited most of the stalwarts where Hawaiian cuisine can be had. In Waikiki, where most visitors stay, there are plenty of five star restaurants with four “$” prices. There is a Nobu that’ll surely cut local fish well, Ruth Chris will butter up a beastly steak, and Roy’s can cook an Opah perfectly. I understand the folks who want to visit each of these, especially when they’re on vacation. After all, Hawaii is all about luxury eating that’s belt loop pushing. Being from Los Angeles, I can eat at each of these places within a short drive, hence the challenge to find anything dynamic.
Ah, you mainlanders. You don’t know what you are missing. How can someone diss the yin and yang elegance of a spam musubi? It’s the perfect balance of salty and glutinous, wrapped in seaweed, and is perfect to have after a long day of surfing, hiking, or drinking. It’s great anytime of the day or night!
Therefore, I chortle at these Buzzfeed videos that have mainlanders taste Hawaiian food, even though they are using the term correctly. Whenever you refer to “Hawaiian,” it’s in reference to the Native Hawaiian culture and customs. When it comes to “Hawaiian food,” it is usually referred to Hawaii local cuisine, which is a hodge podge of Asian and Pacific influences, hence the spam musubi or the loco moco. But, I am a stickler when it comes to that kind of stuff.
Unless you’re from Hawaii, I don’t think many Americans truly understand how special Spam is. I don’t mean the junk email we receive informing us how happier we’d be if we enlarged our penis or the riches that could be bestowed upon us by a Nigerian prince, but the real Spam. You know the yummy…er…”meat” product:
There are even people right here at YOMYOMF who mistakenly think that Spam is gross or low-class or disgusting. To which I say—whatever! Some people just don’t get it.
If you have never known the pleasure of a plate of delicious Spam fried rice:
Or some Spam musubi:
If you’re lucky enough to live in Japan, as of yesterday, you can walk into your local Burger King and order something the rest of us in the world can only dream of: a Spam Burger.
Now, I know many folks here in the U.S. (especially the white folks) think Spam is a disgusting mystery meat. But for many Asians—not to mention Hawaiians here—Spam is pretty damn awesome! If you’ve never had Spam Musubi:
I flew over to Oahu last week to teach a weekend workshop at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. I took some extra time over there to turn the trip into a vacation and to visit my cousin on the Big Island. Somehow, the trip ended up as an eating orgy and with myself packing in an extra 3 pounds on the way back.
First stop, of course, was Leonard’s Bakery for malasadas—the big, fluffy Portuguese holeless doughnuts are a must on every visit to Oahu. As usual, the line was out the door here, but definitely worth the wait.
I feel for Spam.
This under appreciated meat has had such a bad rap. People have come up with backronyms like “Something Posing As Meat” and “Spare Parts Animal Meat,” when really it stands for…uh…what exactly does it stand for? According to Wikipedia, it stands for “Shoulder of Pork and Ham”.
True, Spam is not a white meat and maybe it’s not exactly a red meat. I’m not sure if it’s meat at all actually. I do notice, however, when I open up a can of Spam, it smells strikingly similar to the Tender Liver and Chicken Feast cat food I feed my cats.