Spam Musubi Overload

Spam musubi, Marukame Udon

There’s a special place in my heart for spam. While I was an intern in the publishing industry, spam was the main ingredient in too many of my dishes to remember: grilled spam with instant noodles, fried spam and eggs, spam burritos, spam omelets, the list goes on. I have no idea what’s in spam but I know it’s one of the most addictive and versatile meats out there. Spam has been incorporated into local Hawaiian cuisine since World War II. Troops based in Hawaii during World War II needed a canned good in their kitchen that kept well and didn’t need to be refrigerated. Later on, the Japanese community in Hawaii created spam musubi and the cheap and delicious snack has become ubiquitous on the island ever since.

I’ve never had spam musubi until I went to Hawaii. I’ve always thought I would love it though, what’s not to love? I love spam and I love sushi. What I hadn’t expected though was these pieces of sushi are gigantic, each piece is as big as a slice of spam. So two pieces of spam musubi can make a pretty substantial lunch. It’s rumoured that President Barack Obama often snacks on spam musubi while he’s  golfing in Hawaii.

Spam musubi, ABC Stores

Hawaii is all about comfort food and spam musubi totally fits the bill. We bought our first spam musubi at ABC Stores. Fresh ones are heated in a display case in the back and day-old spam musubi are available at a discount in a basket, refrigerated with the soft drinks.

Spam musubi, ABC Stores

I loved everything about the spam musubi as soon as I had my first bite. The salty meat offset by that al dente, chewy and bouncy sushi rice, the flavour kicked up a notch with the earthy seaweed.

Spam musubi, 7 eleven

We asked around the island and everyone had a favourite place to get spam musubi. Believe it or not 7 eleven was voted the most popular place. The spam musubi at 7 eleven has even won diner’s awards. The convenience store definitely has the most selection on different types of spam musubi, there’s teriyaki flavour and spicy flavour. I stuck with the classic plain spam musubi. It was just as delicious as the ABC spam musubi. Even though I ordered the plain flavour, there was still a sweet and rich sauce holding the salty spam to the rice, it was addictive and delicious. I can see why so many people love the 7 eleven spam musubi.

Spam musubi, 7 eleven

We also tried deep fried spam at the Honolulu Night Market. I loved the crunchy crust on the deep fried spam musubi but my ultimate favourite spam musubi on the island is from Marukame Udon. The spam is sliced and fried up just right, the sushi rice is tender but firm enough not to fall apart at the first bite. There aren’t any special sauces and other gimmicky things on the spam musubi, it’s just the meat, seaweed and rice, classic, simple comfort food.

I regret always being too full to try the spam musubi at Shirokiya the privately owned department store in Ala Moana mall. There’s actually an entire food department upstairs at Shirokiya, they have everything from ramen to sushi. Everything in the department is definitely on my must-try list.

You can find spam musubi just about anywhere on the island which is perfect for my spam addiction!

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