The Spam Musubi
The Story of the Spam Musubi
There’s nothing as uniquely Hawaiian as the Spam musubi. What’s a Spam musubi? In it’s simplest form, it’s a piece of Spam brand luncheon meat, packed between a rectangular shaped wedge of rice and bundled in a wrapping of dried seaweed. Note that it definitely has to be a Spam brand of luncheon meat. Otherwise, it just logically wouldn’t be a Spam musubi.
How to Eat It in Hawaii
Some like to jazz up their Spam musubis by marinating their Spam in teriyaki sauce before frying it. Others add a piece of scrambled egg between the Spam and rice. While others add furikake (a Japanese condiment) to the rice.
Spam musubis are unique to Hawaii and a person from Hawaii invented it. Local residents regularly consume them in significant amounts. You can find them at many convenience stores as well as in many establishments serving local-style plate lunches. They capitalize on the fact that Hawaii has the highest per capita consumption of Spam in the world. The Hormel company, which manufactures Spam, must really love the State of Hawaii for this.
While it may be graphically descriptive, some folks on the mainland erroneously refer to it as a Spam sushi. But it’s not. There’s a subtle, but important distinction between a musubi (or rice ball) versus a sushi. Trust us, there is a difference. It’s like saying that a taco is the same as a burrito or a roast is the same as a steak, despite they having the same basic ingredients. First, one prepares sushi rice differently from the rice in musubis. Second, chefs usually use raw seafood in sushi. And you know that’s not the case in a Spam musubi.
According to reports, the inventor of the spam musubi was a Mrs. Mitsuko Kaneshiro. She first made it for her children. But then she started selling them out of a local drug store in Honolulu during the 1980s to make some money. Spam musubis really took off after that and the rest is culinary history.
Interested in trying some Spam musubis in Hawaii? If so, check out our website for some cheap Hawaii airfare and vacation packages. And we’ll show you some of the best places in town where you can try them out.