Since I’m visiting the island of Kauai, this post applies to a popular canned food product, not digital technology. My husband and I became friends with a couple who reflect the island spirit. We chatted for hours one evening, while whale-watching at the lighthouse.
Interview with Lexi, a Kauaiian island native:
Me: I went to the grocery store the other day and saw an abundance of Spam on the shelves. The signage boasted Spam as a local favorite. Can you explain its popularity?
Lexi: (giggles) Well, it’s a very versatile staple to have in the pantry. One can of Spam goes a long way in preparing a meal. And it’s affordable.
Me: How do you choose which flavor to buy? I’ve seen Jalapeño, Hickory Smoke, Hot and Spicy, Cheese, Bacon, and more.
Lexi: There’s about a dozen choices, but I only get the Classic or Low Sodium.
Me: Why is that?
Lexi: Tradition. I grew up on Spam Musubi. My husband did, too. He could eat that three times a day.
Me: What is it?
Lexi: Spam Musubi is a quick and easy breakfast, lunch, or snack food. It’s made by slicing the Spam and frying it. You never want to eat it straight from the can without frying it first. It tastes better cooked. Just put it in the skillet and fry it so there’s a crispy edge to it. No oil, maybe a touch of butter, just a little bit. Then take some cooked sweet rice and press it into a block the same size as the meat. Put the Spam over the rice and wrap it together with nori dried seaweed. That’s all. You should try it, it’s good.
Me: Where can I get it?
Lexi: Anywhere. It’s in the deli part at the grocery store or by the checkout in a convenience store. The mom and pop restaurants all sell it, too.
Me: Are there other ways to eat Spam?
Lexi: Of course, Honey. We chop it up and put it in soups, in sushi, or use it in stir-fry, too.
Me: I guess I’m going to have to try that, Lexi. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with me.
Lexi: Anytime, Sweetie.
So there you have it. Spam is a favorite by tradition as well as its versatility. It all began during World War II when Spam was shipped to the GIs stationed in the South Pacific. It was flavorsome, filling, and didn’t spoil in the tropical climate simply because it required no refrigeration. The islanders found it appealing and its popularity soared. Today Hawaii consumes more Spam than any other state. It is definitely here to stay.