Greetings from Tokyo: No SPAM in sight here…

Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?

CONTRIBUTED BY STACI HAWLEY

If you’re like me – you never think twice about it. Any kind of meat product in a can freaks me out. I’ve never been a fan of hot dogs or bologna, mostly due to the thought of the ingredients, but also because of that tacky residue that it leaves on the roof of your mouth. Then you move to Okinawa, and behold SPAM. It’s everywhere. It’s strategically placed among other fine delicacies at your local Japanese grocer. It’s in all forms. It’s in all varieties. Does this really have to be the piece of American culture that we’ve left here? Yikes.

How did Spam make its way to Okinawa?

Apparently, Spam was brought to Okinawa from the Americans as emergency aid after the war. It’s been popular here in Okinawa ever since.

What is SPAM?

Indulge in all things Spam. The experts at Hormel have done a fine job at entertaining as well as educating HERE.

How is it used?

Here in Okinawa, you can easily purchase “onigiri” stuffed with SPAM & EGG.

Behold GOYA AND SPAM.

And best of all, you can wash it down with a SPAMTINI.

So as an American, I feel guilty. Okinawa is famously known as having some of the highest percentages of centenarians, and yet we’ve introduced SPAM, Taco Rice and other fast food chains that encompass the island and clog arteries. Okinawa health officials claim that the Western diet is partly responsible for making Okinawans heavier, and of course making them more prone to all the obesity related diseases. So, America is definitely a land of contrasts. And I suppose we can’t predict what parts of our culture have an impact. So SPAM it is.

Sidenote:

My guilt has subsided upon researching that Hormel has infested other corners of Asia as well (no offense Hormel friends). Behold this restaurant SPAMJAM, a franchise in the Philippines entirely devoted to Spam.

3 COMMENTS

  1. My husband LOVES Spam. Guamanians love it too.

    I think the reason the islanders love this stuff so much is because it has a shelf-life of forever, and is some sort of protein. (great typhoon food to have lying around) And I guess it tastes ok. Now there’s turkey Spam and Spam Lite… and other flavors.

    I think he was kind of happy when he saw that it was used in a lot of foods here!

  2. In Hawai’i, we have a Spam & eggs breakfast combo meal at McDonald’s. It’s delicious. The ubiquity of Spam here in Okinawa is one thing that makes me less homesick. 🙂

  3. haha! i personally like spam! the “onigiri” can also be found in the states, or at least where i lived (san diego), fairly easy at any hawaiian restuarant – it’s called spam musubi.

    just a fun fact, during the war, when there was no more ammunition, the soldiers would chuck the spam cans at their enemies as another form of defense! haha! the only reason i know this is because i actually did a speech about spam in high school! it was an odd speech topic, but i did get an A!

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