Long before it
was a term for Nigerian princes clogging our inboxes, Spam was one of the
United States’ most infamously maligned meats, both a symbol of American
resourcefulness and the country’s questionable taste.
Made of pork
shoulder, ham, salt and water, all compressed in a can, the processed meat
product became popular during World War II. Since it required no refrigeration,
Spam was served as a regular meal to US soldiers serving on the Pacific front
and they returned home with a taste for “spiced ham” (where the name derives). Hormel
Foods Inc then began selling the product in US supermarkets starting in 1937, and
while Spam has fallen out of favour in most of the continental US, the meat
remains incredibly popular in Hawaii. The island state consumes more than seven
million cans annually, about five cans per resident per year.
pork even has its own annual festival. Hosted on Oahu, the Waikiki Spam Jam, this year held 27
April, welcomes more than 25,000 people to sample restaurant dishes featuring
the canned meat. Entrees range from
straightforward Spam burgers to international variations such as Spam Thai
meatballs and Spam street tacos. Other entrees include Spam nachos, Spam pizza
and Spam lo mein.
In the mood for
a meaty dessert? Try the choco Spamalicious popsicle from Ono Pops, Spam cheesecake from Hawaiian Cheesecakes
or the Spam and apple cobbler from the Hard
The festival will
also feature the 2013 International Ukelele Contest Championships at 8:30 pm on
the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel Stage, plus local music and hula dancers on two
stages along Kalakaua Avenue throughout the evening. Visitors can stock up on Spam-themed
gear at the vendors lining the street, selling everything from Spam spatulas to
stuffed plush Spam cans.
Admission to the
event is free, but booths are available to collect donations (of Spam, of
course) for the Hawaii Food Bank.