Two Words: Spam Musubi #SundaySupper #Picnic

It’s Memorial Day weekend and the weather is nicer and that means the start of picnic season! The Sunday Supper crew is sharing recipes perfect for any picnic. This week’s event is being hosted by Katy at Happy Baking Days. Thanks Katy!
Spam Musubi |

The much-maligned Spam is actually a guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve posted a few recipes that include this pink processed pork product and I have even made a homemade version of it. If you’ve never tried it, but are willing to give it a chance, the texture is very much like a French terrine, but with much less ingredients. Six to be exact.

What is Spam musubi, you ask? Well, musubi is a relative of the Japanese onigiri which is a rice ball filled with pickles or salted meat. Once constructed, Spam musubi looks like a giant piece of sushi. Spam musubi is a popular Hawaiian snack that can be found everywhere on the islands, and I mean everywhere – food markets, street side food carts, convenient stores. I would even go as far as to say that it could be the official Aloha State snack. My first sighting was in 1996 when I was toiling away in an architecture firm in New York City. A coworker, having grown up in Hawaii, brought in a few Spam musubis for lunch one day. I immediately locked in on the white, pink, and black blocks and asked her what those luscious looking morsels were and where I could get them. Of course she had made them and I never saw them again.

Fast forward to 2007 and I visited a college friend in Honolulu. Once again, I saw these musubis and had to have them. I bought two and threw them in my backpack. Perfect for travel – compact,  little worries for food spoilage, and easy clean up. The Spam, rice and nori are the perfect trifecta. I mean, seriously, how could you go wrong?

Well, here we are at 2013 and I haven’t had a Spam musubi since my trip to Hawaii. I have had visions of these beauties but have never thought to make them…until now. I am craving these again and, no, I am not pregnant. We are off to the beach this weekend and thought that these would be perfect for the road.

Notes: The furikake is a savory rice topping and is used in the musubi for the crunch factor. If you don’t have that on hand, you can sprinkle roasted sesame seeds OR you can just do without.

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Spam Musubi

1 12-ounce can of Spam
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons mirin
Furikake OR roasted sesame seeds
3 sheets of nori (unseasoned roasted seaweed sheets)
3 cups cooked medium-grain rice

1 – Cut the Spam into 6 equal slices. Yes, these will be meaty musubis. Set aside.

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2 – Cut the nori sheets in half. You want the width of the halves to be close to the length of the Spam.

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3 – In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar, and mirin.

4 – Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Brown the first side of the Spam and flip. Add the soy sauce mixture to the skillet and cook until the sauce is reduced to a nice syrup. Make sure the Spam slabs are thoroughly coated. It doesn’t take long to reduce. Take off the heat and set the Spam aside.


5 – Scoop the cooked steamy hot rice into a mixing bowl and fluff it up with a rice paddle. Once the rice is cool enough to handle, you are ready to assemble!

6 – Have a small bowl of water nearby. Moisten your hands, take 1/4 cup of rice and quickly form into a rectangular patty similar to the shape of the Spam slab. The water will prevent the rice from sticking to your hands. Place the patty in the middle of the nori sheet. Sprinkle some furikake OR sesame seeds on the rice. Place one slab of Spam on top of the sprinkled rice. Add a few more shakes of furikake OR sesame seeds onto the Spam. Top off with a another shaped rice patty.

Spam Musubi |

7 – Wrap one end of the nori as snugly around the stack. Overlap the other end of the nori around the stack.

Tip: Smear a few grains of cooked rice along the closing edge to serve as the “glue” for the roll. Done!

03_musubi 021

8 – To pack for travel – take about a 12-inch by 12-inch piece of plastic wrap and enclose each musubi snugly with the plastic wrap.

Spam Musubi | www.kimchimom.comRoll out the picnic blanket! Here’s what everyone else is bringing to the picnic!

Salads and Slaws:

Sandwiches and Mains:



Check back on Sunday for all the recipes! You can join in the chat on Twitter too: we’ll tweet throughout the day and share all of our picnic recipes. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. To join in, just follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets. You can also check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement

I’m excited about the Food & Wine Conference sponsored by Sunday Supper! It’s being held July 19th – 21st in beautiful, sunny Orlando, FL. It’s a must for food bloggers. Check it out by clicking here → Food & Wine Conference


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  • Happy Baking Days

    I don’t think spam has ever looked so good – thank you for sharing :)

    • kimchi_mom

      Thank you for hosting Katy!

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  • Tammi @ Momma’s Meals

    You make this Japanese Dish look so easy!! :) Thanks for sharing!! Nothing like making a dish you’ve always wanted!

    • kimchi_mom

      Yes and so much more satisfying and tasty!

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  • Juanita’s Cocina

    Now THIS is my kinda picnic food! YUM!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thought you might like this one! :-)

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  • Renee Dobbs

    I haven’t had spam in decades. I’ve never really thought about it much. I probably would have if I had ever had it this way.

    • kimchi_mom

      The sauce takes Spam to another level. Give it a try!

  • Soni

    Oooh I’ve never had Spam but this dish looks like something I would really enjoy!Those little packets look perfect to be carried anywhere and a tasty little snack with delicious flavors!Would love to try :)

    • kimchi_mom

      If you’re willing to try, you should! :-)

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  • Amanda M

    My stepdad loves Spam this recipe is being sent to him immediately!

    • kimchi_mom

      Aw, thanks!

  • Alice Choi

    Yo.. I have been waiting for this post! I can’t remember the first time I had spam musubi but yes. . when every we go to hawaii, we load up on this stuff. I love how they sell it in every convenience store there. Brilliant. A friend of mine recently went to hawaii and brought me back the little gadget things to make/shape these. . but I see you free styled it. . and they look WONDERFUL!! and LOVE the addition of the Furikake. you rock, seriously. LOVE this, Amy!

    • kimchi_mom

      I was so surprised to see those plastic molds! My friend said that she would pick one up for me the next time she visits her parents in Honolulu. I guess it would be just as easy to order it on :-) Anyway, it’s more fun “freestylin'” and it’s not that difficult to do. Can’t wait to see yours!

  • theurbanmrs

    Yum! Spam musubi is my favorite menu and I agree – it’s travel-compact, easy cleanup, easy to make, and yet taste delicious!

    • kimchi_mom

      Yes indeed!

  • Liz

    So beautiful, Amy! It certainly doesn’t look like the Spam of my youth :)

    • kimchi_mom

      Yes, that soy glaze kicks it up a few notches! :-)

  • Cindys Recipes

    I admit I has to read this a few times. I never knew spam was so popular served this way.

    • kimchi_mom

      Certainly more popular in Hawaii and maybe LA. Apparently there’s an annual Spam Jam festival in Waikiki celebrating the canned ham!

  • Diana @GourmetDrizzles

    What a beautiful presentation, and interesting learning more about favorite snack foods of your youth (and now 😉 I think I’ll try it!!!

    • kimchi_mom

      Spam musubi is a relatively new discovery for me, but I grew up on Spam in various other dishes!

  • Susan Pridmore

    You have the most creative, interesting recipes !! I always look forward to what you’re cooking up. I had no idea spam could be prepared this way !!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks so much Susan! You can do ANYTHING with Spam! :-)

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  • Laura Hunter

    So I don’t like spam, however you have managed to make a recipe that looks so good that i would be willing to give spam a try again

    • kimchi_mom

      Hi Laura – just curious…what is it about Spam that turns you off? The texture? Flavor? The pinkness? It’s one of those things where you either love it or you don’t! :-) Anyway, I hope you give Spam another chance!

      • Laura Hunter

        It is the flavour I don’t care for. But I would be willing to at least give it another try, especially if it was prepared like this

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  • Megan Wood

    Amy this is awesome! I have never thought to make my own spam – this I want to try!!

    • kimchi_mom

      I hope you do!

  • Tara

    My daughter is completely intrigued by Spam and my hubby just bought some for her. I will have to try this recipe as I know all of us will like it!! Thanks for sharing on #SundaySupper!

    • kimchi_mom

      Hi Tara! I hope you guys give it a try! Let me know how it goes!

  • Kathia Rodriguez

    One word… YUMMY!

    • kimchi_mom

      oh YES!

  • The Ninja Baker

    You’re right, Amy. Spam musubi could be the state food of Hawaii. Yours are about the prettiest ones I’ve seen. Love the touch of furikake =)

    • kimchi_mom

      Aw thanks Kim! I’ve seen those plastic molds to make a neater musubi, but I really enjoyed free-forming these with my hands!

  • Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons

    I love that you compared Spam to a French terrine :) You know…it actually sounds much tastier that way! Thumbs up for embracing your guilty pleasure! Love it!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Lori! Gotta make it classy!

  • Sarah R

    Never had Spam before, but this seems like the only way I’d do it!

    • kimchi_mom

      YES! :-)

  • Martin Redmond

    Great recipe Amy. I’ve heard this is very popular in Hawaii (though I’ve never tried it- your recipe wants me want to give it a go!)

    • kimchi_mom

      I know there are places in the Bay Area that sell these…most definitely in Japantown. I hope you give it a try!

  • Marla

    Aloha from Hilo, Hawaii – where we consume a TON of spam musubi. You did a great job!

    • kimchi_mom

      Wow! That really means a lot! Mahalo…so much!

  • Shannon C

    I am not opposed to spam but have not tried it in forever. This looks so good, I have to go out and buy a can. Yum!

    • kimchi_mom

      Yes, Spam is one of those things that I don’t buy reguarly, but do crave every now and then!

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  • Growing Up Gabel

    I’ve never tried SPAM but these look yummy enough to give a try!

    • kimchi_mom

      The soy glaze really kicks up the yum factor!

  • Miss Kim

    Wow, you made your own spam? I love spam musubi! They are the perfect doshirak, especially for road trips/picnics. I actually didn’t know that there were many people that haven’t even tried spam. I’m Korean, so I grew up with it. And it wasn’t until later that I realized that there are a lot of people that don’t eat it or even tried it.

    • kimchi_mom

      I HAVE made homemade Spam, but these musubis show the original canned Spam. Can’t beat the real thing! :-)

  • Nancy

    Awwwww yeah, baby! Spam musubi! The first time I had these, I was in San Francisco and we ordered them at a Hawaiian barbeque joint. I don’t even like spam but I loved the spam musubi. My husband luuuuuuurvs the stuff – he eats it whenever he can. He ate it when we were in Hawaii last month. Hong Kong style cafes use a lot of it too – usually pan fried in sandwiches, in bowls of noodle soup, etc. Such a guilty pleasure! Your photos look fantastic, Ames – I wish I had one of these right now!

    • kimchi_mom

      I bought 2 cans just in case my first batch didn’t work out, but now I’m craving more of these and will have to make another batch this week. Plus, they’re perfect for the kids’ lunch boxes!

  • Nicole Humphrey Cook

    Wow! That’s the best looking spam I have ever seen in my life. It’s been a pretty long time since I’ve had spam, and these are just gorgeous and quite intriguing.

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Nicole!

  • Family Foodie

    Such an interesting dish! I’ve never tried Spam before, but these look great.

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Isabel!

  • Katie

    Oh my goodness – I ate one of these in Hawaii when I was there a few years ago. The one I had was served warm, and it was definitely unlike anything I’d tried before!

    • kimchi_mom

      Oh yeah, they’re best when they’re still warm! And yeah, they are a pretty unique snack!

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  • aeloa

    We normally use a acrylic mold to compress the rice.

    but once my wife and I while camping out on Volcano on the Big Island.

    used the Spam “can” we opened the top and bottom, washed it out. Layed the Nori on the table and but the can on top. Put in the seasoned rice (Salt, furukaki) put the cooked spam on top and with a spoon pressed the spam down so it compressed the rice. While holding down the spam we lift the can, fold the rest of the nori and viola perfect spam musubi.

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