Hawaiian Spam Musubi Recipe: When Spam goes Glam

Hawaiians have a longstanding love affair with Spam. And Spam musubi is one of their most beloved snacks! They can be found at every restaurant, supermarket, convenience store and 7-11 in Hawaii! 

Why spam? The story goes back to World War II. Since fresh meat was difficult to get to the soldiers on the front, Spam was a main course for the troops in Hawaii during WWII and the large military presence led to Spam's widespread local adaption.

The Spam musubi is a simple yet extremely tasty creation. It is very similar to the Japanese onigiri (rice balls). A basic Spam musubi is composed of three ingredients; Spam, rice and nori (seaweed). Some people also put eggs and furikake in it. 

These are great little traveling snacks. You can have them for lunch, for picnic, for dinner. At party, at midnight straight out from the fridge.

I need to give a shout out to my Grandpa Al who is from Hawaii. He has told us many wonderful stories about his beloved Hawaiian islands, how he used to swim for miles and miles in the Ocean and how for the first 17 years of his life he spoke only Hawaii pidgin. Grandpa Al really is the coolest person I have ever met, he is always so happy and so optimistic, so sunny. Just like Hawaii itself.

Now you too have a little taste of Hawaii in your own home too!

  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 can Spam (cut crosswise into 8 slices)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (for cooking sauce)
  • 1/4 cup water ( for cooking sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (for cooking sauce)
  • 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar (for rice)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (for rice)
  • 3 sheets nori
  • A dash of furikake (optional)

  1. Mix 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Pour mixture onto rice, and mix well.
  2. Heat up a large nonstick pan over medium high heat with about 1 tablespoon of oil brushed over the surface.  Pan-fry Spam pieces until golden brown and crispy
  3. Mix soy sauce, sugar, and water together to make cooking sauce.
  4. Turn the heat to low.  Add cooking sauce on to the pan, coating each slice of spam.
  5. As Spam is cooking, press half of the rice into the musubi maker ( if you don't have one, use the empty Spam can by cutting out the bottom and use it as a mold) pack the rice in tight. Place a slice spam on rice.Top with remaining rice; press down  patty with your fingers. Repeat with the rest of the rice.  Or you can
  6. Lay a piece of nori shiny-side down, place rice rectangle on top. Wrap up. Cut each musubi in half. Using a bit water to help the nori stick together. OR
  7. Make a rice rectangle using the musubi maker. Press a slice of Spam over each rectangle of rice and press down. So that Spam and rice stacks. Then wrap each piece with a piece of nori like a belt, using water to secure it.

Husband Says: "I have a story about Spam. Before moving away to college back in 1997 I raided my parents kitchen cabinets for food I could take, and one of the items I pillaged was a huge can of spam. I never got around to eating it in college, but for some reason I would take it around with me whenever I moved. It became my Spam buddy more than something I would actually eat. My can of Spam stayed by my side until 2006 when I moved to Shanghai and put a bunch of stuff in storage, the Spam included. Somehow it was lost and I never saw Spam buddy again. It was a tough loss. I could have eaten it when the zombie apocalypse inevitably hits. But it's gone so I've just had to make do since. Luckily, my wife has picked up the Spam infatuation and cooked up these treats, so for me it was like I finally got to eat my ol' Spam buddy. You're missed pal, you're missed."
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Write comments
Anne Regalado
February 21, 2014 at 8:59 AM delete

Geeesh Carmen , your spam musubi looks sinful lol I love Spam and actually have this musubi recipe that I've lifted from Cooking Light magazine last year but haven't tried making it yet *sigh*