Legacy of the American Military
More Novel than Anything Else

“Some of these throwback dishes were best left in the past.” —Kate Bernot


Cooking with Spam


Spam is not perhaps an immediate association with materials used by Pacific Rim cooks. But it does have a minor niche. Wherever the American military went in the Second World War, Spam went with them.

Since the Second World War, Spam became a local food in places like Okinawa, Korea and parts of Southeast Asia where American troops went, as well as Hawaii.

Spam has even been integrated into several local cuisines, notably in Hawaii in the form of Spam Nigiri or Spam Musubi.

In Spam Nigiri a grilled slice of Spam is pressed over rice in the same way a piece f tuna might be wrapped around sushi rice.  We then have Spam Nigiri.  A strip of nori or seaweed can then be wrapped around the whole thing, like a norimaki sushi presentation,and it becomes Spam Musubi.

Spam Nigiri remains popular in convenience stores in Hawaii and you may encounter it elsewhere as well.

In North America the Mitsuwa Market has featured Deluxe Spam Nigiri in its sushi counters for $2 a piece.

And in Chicago’s luxury Hotel Dana, Restaurant Argent featured Spam Nigiri on its menu, for $5 a serving.

In the words of food writer Kate Bernot, “It’s as salty as you’d expect.  Unfortunately, the presentation is more novel than anything else.”

Although it occurs as a special niche item in some Pacific Rim cuisines, Spam Nigiri probably exceeds sodium and fat limits too much to be a really healthy food, except in small quantities. Esthetically it is marginal, too.

It would be better to eat real sushi. But Spam and its adaptation to a sushi-like Spam Nigiri are interesting artifacts of Fusion cooking in the Pacific Rim.

For Further Information:

[1] Kate Bernot —
[2] Spam —
[3] Spam Nigiri —
[4] Mitsuwa Marketplace and Spam Musubi —
[5] Hotel Dana – Restaurant Argent —






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  1. Pingback: Hawaiian cuisine | Pacific Rim Gourmet

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