The Land of SPAM

A follower asked me recently if I still eat SPAM, egg and rice – the answer to that is “Oh yes!”

I mentioned in my post about the Hole in the Wall food tour that SPAM is ubiquitous in Hawaii: supermarket staple and a beloved part of local cuisine, it’s eaten in heroic quantities (over 7 million cans per year). Although there’s always SPAM in our pantry at home, on our Hawaiian holiday last year, SPAM was high on my agenda.

SPAM musubi, Musubi Cafe Iyasume

Jac is nowhere as crazy about SPAM as I am but she’s a good sport and didn’t object to lunch at a Japanese cafe in Waikiki that specialises in SPAM musubi (fried or grilled sliced SPAM served on a block of rice, wrapped with nori).

I ate SPAM musubi in Perth just once, and the mistake they made was serving pre-cooked, fridge-cold SPAM in the musubi. In Hawaii, SPAM musubi is a popular snack and can be found prepackaged for sale in convenience stores. At Iyasume, the SPAM musubi are made to order and arrive in little cling-wrapped bundles, the SPAM and rice warm, the musubi surprisingly substantial.

If I lived in Honolulu, I imagine I’d be a regular customer of this cute cafe.

Front counterThere are takeaway meals for sale on the front counter.

Menu The mind-boggling wall of menu! The cafe sells more than just SPAM musubi and if we’d had more time in Honolulu, I’d have liked to come back for another meal.

DSCF1032 SPAM, egg and cucumber (US$2.48).

SPAM, egg and bacon SPAM, egg and bacon (US$2.48). SPAM and bacon, two of my favourite things!

SPAM and umeboshi (sour plum) Plum SPAM (US$2.28). The extremely sour plum and salty SPAM are a challenging flavour combo and won’t be to everyone’s taste.

SPAM, egg and cucumber Salty SPAM, sweet tamago (egg) and crunchy cucumber – the most balanced combination and my favourite of the bunch. Jac also chose Cheese SPAM (US$2.28, not pictured), with startlingly yellow stretchy cheese.

Groceries for saleThere’s a selection of groceries for sale (mainly snacks and convenience foods) and of course, tins of SPAM.

Merchandise for saleThere are SPAM musubi-related souvenirs for sale too. I’d have bought a T-shirt, but pink hasn’t been my colour since I was 12.

DSCF1041
Musubi Cafe Iyasume
2427 Kuhio Ave, Waikiki, Honolulu, HI 96815 USA

Spong Moco, The Pineapple Room

We made a booking for breakfast at Honolulu restaurant The Pineapple Room, where I had celebrity chef Alan Wong’s housemade SPAM, called Spong, served with kalua pig fried rice and two beautifully fried eggs. The Spong was delicious but its texture reminded me more of tinned corned beef than SPAM. I’d eat it again no worries, especially if accompanied by that porky fried rice, but for SPAM cravings, I’ll stick to the original.

Spong moco Spong Moco – three slices of spong with two local eggs and Kalua pig fried rice (US$15.75)

DSCF0640Jac’s Open Face Waialua Asparagus Omelet, with lomi tomato and bacon vinaigrette (US$14.50)

DrinksJac’s ‘Wong Way’ Bloody Mary with ume paste, Li Hing Mui and wasabi rim (US$8.50), and my pretty Virgin Awamori Sunrise (US$6.75) – blended lilikoi (passionfruit), oranges and guava. My drink was delightful but the Bloody Mary was dominated by that wasabi rim.

The Pineapple Room
1450 Ala Moana Blvd Macy’s Third Floor, Honolulu, HI 96814 USA

SPAM Big Breakfast at McDonald’s

I’ve missed the McDonald’s Big Breakfast ever since they stopped serving them at McDonald’s in Australia. You can still get the Big Breakfast in the United States (served with a buttermilk biscuit instead of an English muffin as they did in Australia) and in Hawaii, there’s a local version with SPAM or Portuguese sausage with scrambled eggs and two scoops of rice. For us gluttons who want everything, there’s a ‘local deluxe breakfast’ with rice, eggs, SPAM and Portuguese sausage, which is what I had for breakfast on our last morning in Waikiki. I know I smiled the entire time eating this.

DSCF1213-5Comfort and nostalgia… and the magic of SPAM.

About this series

I went to the United States twice last year – this is my first post about the second trip, in which Jac and I went to Hawaii (Oahu and Maui islands), Texas and Virginia. There’s a lot more to come.

Posted so far:

DSCF1107-6One of many gorgeous beach sunsets we enjoyed in Waikiki.

If you haven’t already done so, you may like to check out my blog series about my first (solo) trip to the US, which included California, Wyoming and Colorado. Start with the first post: Santa Paula, California USA.

See more travel tales at my Travel page.

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  • Rosie

    Dear TFP, I just wanted to post a comment to say hi and to say thank you for continuing to write such a wonderful blog. Yours is the first blog I started regularly reading, back in 2008/2009, and I just wanted to say how much I enjoy it. I used to comment more regularly a number of years ago – sorry I haven’t commented in so long, you probably won’t remember me at all! I’m British and started reading when I was back in the UK, but at the beginning of this year I moved to Sydney, and so I’m finding it nerdily cool that I’m now able to experience all of the cool Aussie/Sydney restaurants and places I used to read about back home (e.g., Din Tai Fung, Pappa Rich, Gelato Messina, Harry’s Café de Wheels, and even Hungry Jacks, haha!). Your lovely SPAM post brought back memories of your lovely bento box posts (SPAM fried rice, mmm!) – I want some now! Hope all is well with you :)

    • Hi Rosie, of COURSE I remember! I remember all the regular commenters, but I know people move on and stop reading blogs over time, though sometimes they stop for a while and then come back again. Very cool that you’ve moved to Sydney! Oh yes… I still love my SPAM fried rice every now and then. I am well and so is Jac – just terribly busy with work and life.

  • Monica @ Gastromony

    I’d like to go to Hawaii one day… I only have good memories about Spam from my childhood. It’s a comfort food for me. I have a tin of it in the pantry and plan to give it to the kids oneday on a hand-rolled sushi night :D Oddly enough, kids these days only know Spam as email junk lol

    • We are hoping to go back within the next year or so – most likely for our 20th anniversary :)
      Yeah, I really lwish email junk mail had a different name. :P