What is it about Spam that we love so much?
Is it the mysterious parts of a pig that make up the pink block of canned meat? Is it that you can keep it in an underground bunker for years in case of a zombie apocalypse? Or is it because, well, it just tastes so good?
Hard to say, but for whatever reason, Spam — and its line of products — is hugely popular in Hawaii. We put in our fried rice, we make musubis out of it, we slice it thin and put it in our saimin.
And, for the past decade, we’ve been celebrating it at the annual Waikiki Spam Jam held this Saturday on Kalakaua Avenue.
Like many folks who grew up in the Islands, I’ve eaten Spam my entire life. My mom loves to fry it up — crispy is best — and eat it with hot rice. And I’ve been known to eat a Spam musubi every day for months. (It’s true.)
Spam has a long history in the Islands. The luncheon meat was served to GIs during World War II, and it quickly became part of the local culinary culture here. More Spam is consumed per person in Hawaii than in any other state. Almost 7 million cans of Spam are eaten every year. And I know my family has helped with that number.
The Spam Jam — one of my favorite food festivals, by the way — offers various preparations of our beloved canned meat, from Spam loco mocos to Spam nachos. And maybe this year there will be chocolate-covered Spam, too.
So I’m curious about your Spam addiction — or lack thereof. How do you take your Spam? Or are you one of those rare breeds in Hawaii who doesn’t eat it?
11th annual Waikiki Spam Jam, 4-10 p.m. April 27, Kalakaua Avenue. Admission is free. Visit www.spamjamhawaii.com.