Spam Musubi: A True Hawaiian Delicacy

I once wrote an acrostic poem about my love of spam that went something like this:

Salty slab of not quite bacon —

Pig flesh so curiously pink,

Are you ever not on my mind,

Mocking my every taste bud?

I take comfort in the fact that I can buy a spam musubi from any 7-Eleven in Honolulu. If I need a pick-me-up or just something to fill my tummy, I head to the local convenience store and purchase this Hawaiian staple for just $1.09.

Spam is good prepared in other foods too, like next to scrambled eggs for breakfast or in fried rice for dinner. It really is the other white meat — except it’s pink.

And there is a reason why we Hawaiians love spam to such a degree that we consume more of it than any other locale in the world. (Almost 5 million cans of Spam are purchased per year). As the major Pacific port during World War II, spam was brought to the islands by the boatload mainly because it didn’t require refrigeration and it provided protein and sustenance for military personnel. For nearly 60 years now, numerous spam dishes have been invented and several continue to be special local recipes.

To be honest, though, I am only partial to spam musubi, which is really just a warm sushi. If you’re brave enough, here is my personal recipe to try it for yourself.


Makes 16


3 cups uncooked short- or medium-grain rice

4 cups water

4 sheets of sushi nori (seaweed in big squares)

1 12-ounce can spam

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup sugar



1. Prepare rice.

2. Cut nori into quarters.

3. Cut spam into 16 thin, rectangular slices. In a large un-greased frying pan over medium heat, fry slices until brown and slightly crispy. Remove from heat.

4. In a small saucepan over high heat, add soy sauce and sugar; bring just to a boil, then remove from heat. Add spam slices to mixture.

5. Place spam on top of ⅓ cup of cooked rice and wrap with seaweed.


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