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February 27, 2020

Scotland has both the Haggis Championship and the Golden Spurtle, an annual competition to find the finest porridge. Hawaii has Spam Jam.

For readers who only associate spam with their inbox, Spam is/was a popular canned meat product.

Made from shoulder pork and ham, it is made by the American company Hormel Foods Corporation.

Cheap to produce and with a lengthy shelf life, it was first made in 1937. An essential part of American troops' rations, it was distributed around much of the globe during the Second World War and as part of the relief and reconstruction efforts of the post-war years.

Both the Russians and the Brits ate huge quantities of it during the lean years of the late Forties and the Fifties.

Because the American forces did a lot of fighting in the Pacific, Spam became part of the diet in places like the Philippines, Okinawa and Hawaii.

Bizarre as it may seem, the cheap American luncheon meat became integrated into local dishes. South Korea consumes more Spam than any country other than the United States and budae jjigae - army base stew - is a popular delicacy.

In Okinawa, rice balls wrapped in seaweed and flavoured with Spam are popular, as are Spam burgers.

Spam box sets

In the Philippines, Spam is often eaten with garlic-fried rice and a fried egg for breakfast and Spam box sets make popular gifts.

However, the world's most ardent Spam fans are surely the Hawaiians. Sometimes referred to as Hawaiian steak, Spam is so popular that the island of Oahu has its own annual Spam festival. We actually wrote about it on the blog some eleven (!) years ago,

Now in its eighteenth year, the Spam Jam festival takes place over five city blocks in Waikiki with live entertainment and around twenty restaurants serving their finest Spam dishes. Main pic is from Spam Jam Facebook.

Spusubi - a sort of Spam sushi; Spam tacos and Spamghetti are all regular favourites. If Spamaroni and cheese is difficult to get your head around then you may want to block out the thought of candied Spam - another Waikiki delicacy.

The next Spam Jam takes place on Saturday 25th April. Although we may just stay at home and wait for October's Golden Spurtle.