I never thought that the day I fell in love with packaged luncheon meat would be the day I first stepped foot into Chinatown, Honolulu, Hawaii. Yes, I’m talking about the ugly, jiggly chunk of mystery meat they called Spam.
I know the history of Spam and how it made its way to Hawaii. It’s because people in the states hated it and got rid of it by sending it to the islands. Okay, I’m joking.
Spam was low cost and had a long shelf life. For those living far from the mainland, it made economic sense to stock up on Spam. It became more popular in Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands after World War II. It was considered patriotic to eat the “Special Army Meat”. Let’s just say those island people practiced their patriotism and made Spam a staple in their cuisine until today. Using their culture and innovation, Hawaiians created the Spam musubi.
Ah, the slices of caramelized meat tucked into a bed of white rice, thin layer of omelet, and a sprinkle of furikake seasoning, and then wrapped in nori is surprisingly very delicious. If you are like me and think Spam is repulsive, then try the Spam musubi just once. It might change your mind. My relationship with Spam has never been the same since. Even if you don’t know when you will visit Hawaii, you can still try the best of the islands by making your own Spam musubi at home.
The ingredients are simple yet flavorful. You will need a tin of Spam. I like the Lite Spam because it has less sodium and fat. Some Spam musubi does not include eggs but I like “the works”. Besides, Spam and eggs just go together. This is how I make my favorite Hawaiian snack:
1 can of Spam cut in 8 slices
5 eggs beaten
2 and 1/2 cups of white rice cooked
1 tablespoon of furikake seasoning
4 sheets of nori
1/4 teaspoon sugar
a pinch of salt
1. Place a plastic cling wrapper on the bottom of a flat pan. Be sure to leave the sides out so you can transfer the slices to a cutting board later on. Press the white rice firmly to shape the rice.
2. Sprinkle the furikake seasoning on the rice until all area is covered.
3. Add a pinch of salt to the egg batter for flavor. Cook the eggs like a thin omelet. Cut the omelet the size of the Spam slices. Lay the omelet on the rice to make 8 pieces.
4. Pan fry the sliced Spam. Caramelize the Spam by sprinkling sugar on each side of the Spam. Lay the Spam on top of the eggs.
5. Lift the cling wrapper off the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut the squares along the Spam and gently slide the rice off the cling wrapper.
6. Cut the nori sheets in half. Wrap the layers with nori and seal the nori at the bottom.
Serve and enjoy. Take this snack with you on the go and share it with a friend.
* Spam also comes in turkey meat for non-pork eaters.
** Replace furikake with a sugar and soy sauce mix. Mix 3 tablespoons of soy sauce with 1 table spoon sugar and glaze it on the rice for a sweet and salty flavor.
*** Replace soy sauce with teriyaki sauce and add Sriracha hot sauce for a kick.