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spam in Hawaiian cooking

Thi N. | May 15, 2002 10:15 PM

So I ended up at Loft at Lahaina's for dinner. Mostly absolutely terrible - acrid teriyaki sauce and overcooked meat and ickiness - but the spam musabi made me really happy. Just right - the mushy rice against the crisp, salty spam, the acidity of the teriyaki in a good balance to the excess fatiness and saltiness of the Spam.

Maybe I've gone round the deep one. But the way I figure it, any clever culture will take any stuff that looks near inedible - tripe, for instance, or pig's tail - and find a way to render it into something edible. How to balance the badnesses, neutralize them, turn them around. The toughness of old beef gets stewed into gentleness. The burning acridity of horseradish gets turned into a sparing condiment. The mushiness of spam gets hard fried. And if mile-high piles of spam K-rations left behind by GI's leaving Korea (does anybody know how Spam got big in other Asianish parts?) wouldn't spur a culture into some fit of creativity to do *something* with that dreck, I don't know what would.

Anyway - question - let's say, for some mad reason, I've decided that I want to pursue this and follow spam-responsive cooking. Let's say some deep childhood memory of the joy of fresh fried spam with tofu in wheat bread has been triggered. Let's say I've gone off my meds. Anyway - where?

I have this weird memory of seeing in print, in relation to LA, the phrase "Hawaiian burrito with spam, pineapple, and wasabi," which leaves me a feeling a little gross, week, and lusty. Did I imagine this? Does this exist?


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