Festival dedicated to the faux-meat chronicles the state's love for SPAM
So, SPAM is to Hawaii as grits are to South Carolina: The people can't get enough of it. As evidenced by the upcoming Waikiki SPAM Festival at the end of April, Hawaii's love for the ham in a can is still going strong.
During the Waikiki SPAM Jam, local chefs and restaurants, like Chibo Okonomiyaki, Gordon Biersch, and even PF Chang's, will be serving up their own SPAM creations to the masses. (Spamakopita , anyone?) With free entertainment, craft tents, and SPAM merchandise, this is the SPAM capital of the world — it even closes down Kalakaua Avenue.
So why the passionate love affair between SPAM and Hawaii residents? SPAM became a staple in the Hawaiian diet during WWII, when American soldiers introduced the shelf-stable meat to citizens. Even after the war, Hawaiians continued to eat SPAM, either in sandwiches or stir-fries. And yes, there is such a thing as SPAM "sushi," or "SPAM musubi." Spam is marinated in soy souce, fried, and packed in with rice and nori in a roll. Um, yum? Check out the SPAM musubi how-to below, if you can't get to Honolulu.