Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spam Musubi

If you've ever been to Hawaii, made a Hawaiian friend, been to a Hawaiian restaurant or just glanced at a Locals' pantry, you'd know that us Hawaiians LOVE spam!!

Back in the day (I don't have the memory for dates) there was a huge military and Japanese presence in Hawaii. With the heavy military presence in Hawaii came foods that lasts long and doesn't need refrigeration, hence Spam. At the time, Japanese were mostly plantation workers and needed a quick and easy lunch item that they could take with them to the sugarcane and pineapple fields. The Japanese, being the smart buggahs that they are, decided to throw spam on a bed of rice and wrap it up in nori (seaweed). Thus the creation of the Spam Musubi. It's been a staple item in local cuisine ever since.

In my hannabaddah days (Aka childhood) we would buy musubi's from the Manapua Man, 7-Eleven, bento houses and more. It was, and is, a quick meal while on the go. Whether you're going to the beach, fishing, hanging out, going theaters (gotta sneak it in your pocket) or just hungry, a musubi was the goto item! As amazingly easy as it is to make, my family never made them. I dunno if they were lazy or what but at $0.50 a musubi from the manapua man, I guess it was more feasible to just buy it.

Musubi's now days cost anywhere from $1-$2 each, in Hawaii. Now that I reside in the Bay Area, I've searched for cheap, and tasty, musubi's but it seems like you can't find one for less than $2 and it's size and taste are subpar at best. I've even seen musubi's run as high as $5 each. That's just RIDICULOUS. . . or so I thought. One day I went to buy a musubi and drink from a foodtruck that boasted "hapa" Hawaiian food, and they wanted $9!! That blew my mind!!! I practically threw it back at them and told them exactly where they can shove that $9 musubi and drink!!

A musubi is and will always be, to me, a simple, cheap and tasty goto snack. It literally consist of only rice, seaweed and spam. Of course there are several new variations since the old days, all of which are very yummy, but it's still intended to be affordable. Try making one yourself then tell me if it's worth $3-$5 each:

Spam Musubi

  • Plastic Musubi Mold
  • Bowl of water
  • Sliced spam (horizontally cut)
  • Nori Sushi Wrappers
  • Freshly cooked sticky rice (sushi or short grain)
  • Teriyaki sauce

Note: For this recipe I will be using both a plastic musubi mold and teriyaki sauce, but both are optional items. Molding the rice by hand just sucks. I will also use strips of nori that cover the entire length of each musubi because it keeps the teriyaki sauce from making a mess while eating it. You can use any size strips you prefer though!


  1. Remove spam from its can and slice 9 pieces horizontally.
  2. Lightly fry spam for 1-2 minutes per side then pour teriyaki sauce and let soak until ready to use.
  3. Place a spam can or the musubi mold onto 1 sheet of nori, to measure the required size for each musubi, and cut a strip of nori to fit the length of the can/mold.
  4. Place the mold on the end of the strip of nori that's closest to your body.
  5. Fill mold with rice and pack it down with the mold lid until the mold is at least half way full.
  6. Remove mold by pressing down on the lid and pulling the mold up and away from the packed rice.
  7. Place of piece of spam onto the rice and fold they entire combination over until fully covered in nori. (If done properly, you should end with a small strip of nori on the bottom of the musubi).
  8. Seal nori by dipping your finger in water bowl and running it across the length of the remaining nori strip, then folding it over and pressing it down for a second or two.

Voila! Done. . .

As stated above, there are many variations and each just depend on what your preference is. Spam doesn't even have to be the main ingredient. 7-Eleven in Hawaii sells Chinese sausage, mochiko chicken, hotdog, longanisa & eggs musubi's and more. What's your favorite?

You can usually find plastic musubi molds at Asian store (Japanese to be specific) but if not, get creative!! I've seen and done some amazing things on a budget! ;) Check my pics below to see how I get down:

If you liked this recipe, please share with friends. It's simple but always a crowd pleaser!

Peace & Poi,
Dis Hungry Hawaiian

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