Hawaiians consume 7 million cans of Spam products per year. Way back in 1937, the brand Spam was started. When World War II took the world by storm, the Hormel Company, who created Spam, shipped over 100 million pounds of it to feed the allied troops. This was a perfect food to send over because it was flavorful, had a long shelf-life, and didn't need to be refrigerated. Once the war subsided, the excess of this delicacy migrated to the troops stationed in Hawaii, and surpluses went to Pacific territories.
There are a lot of misconceptions centered around Spam, the cheap meat staple that Hawaiians have fallen madly in love with. The most common misconception is that Spam tastes disgusting. I've even heard its nickname is "Spare Parts Animal Meat."
Before I tried Spam, I had the same misconceptions, thinking that it would be something I wouldn't ever want to taste. A lot of this had to do with the things I had heard about Spam from my family and peers. Because of this, I continued to keep my distance from this Hawaiian staple. I kept such distance, that is, until I started college.
My freshman year, I became good friends with a born-and-raised Hawaiian. One of the first things he got in a care package from his parents were cases upon cases of Spam. I asked what he thought of it, and if it was any good. He then proceeded to tell me about the wonders of Spam, and all the many things that they ate Spam with and on. I started thinking if he and all the people living in Hawaii love eating it so much, what could be so bad about it?
It was now time to taste it for myself. My friend made the popular snack Spam Musubi, and I was blown away by how good it was. My friend first cut pieces of Spam and then fried them and cooked some rice. Once everything was ready, he assembled the ingredients with a Spam musubi maker. Whenever someone asks, I explain Spam musubi as Spam sushi: rice, spam, then rice again all wrapped up with seaweed.
This was something I had never encountered before, but it's something I now crave a lot. Spam also has many different flavors, from original to even bacon-flavored. When my friend made it, he used original and spicy spam. I have no spice tolerance, but I actually preferred the spicy one because there was much more flavor to it.
So should we drop the stigma over Spam and all give it a try for ourselves? I think so, I waited this long and now I wish I had started eating this years ago. If you're feeling even more adventurous for Hawaii snacks, try some of these.