To many mainland Americans and possibly Westerners in general, the thought of eating any dish that has spam as one of its ingredients probably does not sound appetizing. For whatever reason, this canned food has gotten a bad rap by word-of-mouth, though many people who dare to try it do end up liking it. In Hawaii, however, spam is anything but a disgusting food staple—it is a commonly eaten and enjoyed snack or main dish to many of the natives and those who travel to the Hawaiian islands. So if you’re travelling to Hawaii, here’s a guide to hopefully open you up to the world of spam musubi, one of the most common dishes of the land.
Spam musubi is a classic lunchtime food and snack food that has a place in most Hawaiians’ homes. It is a very simple-to-make dish, which is probably one of the reasons why it is so widely used as a snack food. It is made by grilling slices of spam and then placing the grilled spam on top of block-shaped mounds of sticky white rice. These blocks are then wrapped in sheets of nori, which is seaweed. It is interesting to note that some of the best places to get tasty spam musubi when travelling around Hawaii is in the local 7-11s. Yes, you read that right—7-11, the convenience store. The 7-11’s in Hawaii serve this classic dish, and most natives agree that besides home-cooked spam musubi, they are very well made and delicious.
Speaking of home-made spam musubi, chances are if you end up making friends with the locals in Hawaii and are invited over to their homes, you will probably encounter this dish. Because of its ease to make and its delicious, rich taste, it is often the snack or lunch food of choice when under a time crunch or just when craving the Hawaiian dish. It is such a popular dish that spam musubi is also served in school cafeterias and is a common food to make when preparing food for on-the-go. With all of the spam musubi being made all over the Hawaiian islands, it is unlikely that any traveller or tourist will not end up seeing them, smelling them, or hopefully eating them.
What is interesting about this Hawaiian dish is that it is very easy to recreate wherever you are. Of course, native food dishes tend to taste the best in their place of origin or where they are most popular, but anyone with access to a grocery store where spam is sold (which is most likely all of them), rice, and nori sheets (okay, this one might require you to find an Asian food mart, but still—) can make this easy-to-prepare dish and get to judge it for themselves. If you end up travelling to Hawaii, however, you most likely won’t have to make it on your own—it will be everywhere around you. If not, at least it will be at the nearest 7-11, you can count on that.