Festival celebrates the ‘delicious delicacy’ that is Spam
An annual food festival in Hawaii features an unlikely star – Spam, wonderful Spam.
Spam Jam, which took place near Waikiki beach, saw local restaurants serve creative variations of canned-meat dishes to a crowd of nearly 25,000.
Last year the festival raised nearly 25,000 dollars in donations for local charities
Hawaii consumes more Spam than any other state in the nation.
So manufacturers Hormel came up with a new flavour - Portuguese sausage Spam - that is, at least for now, exclusively for the Aloha State.
Spam, introduced by Hormel in 1937, became popular in Hawaii during the Second World War, when it was being shipped to military personnel on the islands.
It does not need to be refrigerated and has a long shelf life, making it ideal for the long journey from the mainland.
Spam, which featured in a famous Monty Python sketch, quickly cross-pollinated from the military population into the local diet, and its popularity has grown ever since.
Now, Spam can be found pretty much everywhere that serves food in Hawaii - petrol stations, local markets, diners and even in fast-food chains like McDonald's and Burger King.
Fried Spam and eggs is a staple breakfast combo in the state, but people eat it for lunch and dinner as well.
People in Hawaii consume nearly 7 million cans per year, according to the Hormel website.
Spam Musubi, a sushi-inspired variation, is one of the more popular forms in Hawaii. It consists of a slab of Spam, rice and sesame seeds tied in seaweed.
The restaurants participating in the street food event served up creative versions of the classic.
They included BBQ Spam, spicy garlic shrimp with Spam and even Spam cupcakes.
According to Hormel, the meat is not such a mystery. They list the ingredients as pork, salt, water, potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrate.
Many people have theories about what the name Spam actually means. Many believe it is short for "spiced ham." Others say it stands for "shoulders of pig and ham".
But Hormel will not answer the question, saying on its website that the true meaning is known by only a small circle of former executives, and "probably Nostradamus".