The Undeniably Asian Canned American Meat: Four Spam Recipes | Australian food and drink

Few food items around the world are as divisive as spam, the little packet of pork that is made inspire both Love or disgust.

I’m part of the Asian diaspora and for me, this particular American product tastes like home. The story of spam in Asian societies is a common story of resourcefulness and resilience. It is often difficult to express to people when they bounce off their disgust, that spam is not only delicious but is also viewed very differently in our parents’ countries.

I share my love of canned pork ham with millions of Asians and Pacific Islanders around the world. The use of spam is ingrained in the regional cuisines of the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong, which may seem incompatible with local cooking methods, ingredients, and techniques. So how did this American canned meat become so embraced by so many kitchens?

Spam and Noodles, Spam and Rice, Spam and Eggs. Spam has a long history as a proper product, ration, luxury good, and relic of American colonialism. It was created in 1937 by Hormel Foods as a way to turn surplus pork shoulder into a profit, and to fill a gap in the market for small portions of high-quality cold cuts with a long shelf life.

At the time, other companies were using waste products and leftovers like pork noses to make their delicious meat, so the high quality and affordability of spam made it a huge hit with families struggling during the Great Depression. Their long shelf life and high protein content also make them ideal military rations. This is how spam began its journey around the world – as a wartime necessity. By the end of World War II, the United States government had purchased about 68,000 metric tons of it to feed its army and as aid to its allies.

Spam has a long history in Asia, being imported from the United States and is sometimes considered a luxury product due to its proximity to Western culture. Photo: Alex Tay/SOPA Images/Rex/Shutterstock

After World War II, the popularity of spam waned in Europe, but it remained very popular in the Asia Pacific region. In the Philippines, spam was an expensive commodity sold in retail stores on US military bases, with a tin often costing roughly the average daily wage. Its price tag and outright “American feel” were a big part of its appeal—the presence of spam or other imported canned goods in your pantry has become a symbol of affluence.

In Hong Kong, where farmland (and thus meat) was scarce and manufacturing was thriving, coffeehouses or Cha Chan accomplishes Cleverly combining Chinese cooking methods with imported fancy foods like spam, butter and cheese, creating Cantonese interpretations of Western factory workers’ fare.

In Hawaii, the US Army introduced spam as an alternative source of protein when local residents lost access to a large part of their diet with restrictions on Japanese-American fishing offshore during the war. It is now a staple in Hawaiian cuisine.

The Korean War brought SPAM to the Far East. American soldiers bartered with spam for information from locals who had left starving due to wartime shortages. It was also smuggled from army bases along with sausages, baked beans, and other canned goods. This period of scarcity has led to the emergence of idealism now Jijiga Buddha statues Or Army Base Stew, the perfect fusion of Korean cooking and American ingredients.

Growing up in Singapore, I eat spam as part of a ‘curry rice/economy’ show, with noodles or fried rice, and at home, my mom would cook it for us as a treat. Spam is even more delicious when it is simply fried in a pan – salty, mushy in the middle, with a crunchy golden edge. It’s the perfect contrast in texture. When cut into cubes and stirred into rice or eggs, it gives wonderful bursts of pork flavor. Simmered, it becomes very tender and absorbs the flavor of the broth, making it an ideal ingredient in a decadent and spicy stew.

Sure, spam is a relic of American colonialism, but it’s also undoubtedly Asian. It is a shining beacon of culinary innovation through hardship, and represents a complex history across many cultures. It is also very delicious.

vegan alternative

I know encouraging the consumption of mass-produced meat products comes with huge ethical and environmental issues, but Asia’s love of spam has also given rise to a great vegan luncheon meat product called OmniPork. It features as vegan “spam” at McDonald’s in Hong Kong and Macau, and is also available in Australia. It looks and cooks just like spam does – so feel free to substitute it with your favorite spam recipes below.

A great Korean War remnant recipe to share
This Korean War remnants recipe is great to share. Photo: Roshen Cole/The Guardian

Army Base Stew (Budai Jigai)

Hot rich trace of the Korean War, Jijiga Buddha statues It is the perfect blend of traditional Korean flavors with Western ingredients. Korean soup or jjigay It is generally served similar to sharing at the table over a portable stove, but it can also be cooked on the stove and brought to the table. This is a great dish to enjoy with a group.

For this recipe, you’ll need gochujang and gochugaru, which are Korean red pepper paste and flakes. Both can be found in well-stocked supermarkets and Asian grocery stores.

to equip 10 minutes
cook 15 minutes
serve 4-6

the soup
75g kimchi
½ packet (170 g) spam,
sliced
4 Frankfurt sausage cocktail or the like, sliced
200gm soft tofu sliced
2 green onions, Cut into 3cm lengths
2 king oyster mushroomsAnd the split lengthwise
½ bunch enoki mushrooms, trim
500 ml hot stockAnd the Plus more to recharge
1 slice of American cheese
1 box of instant noodles
½ brown onion,
sliced
100g sliced ​​rice cakes
1 tablespoon cooked beans
(my choice)

To prepare the sauce
3 tablespoons gochugaru
2 tablespoons gochujang
6 garlic cloves,
minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon soju or similar rice wine

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine ingredients in a wide, shallow saucepan in layers, starting with sliced ​​brown onions, mushrooms, kimchi, and sauce. Arrange spam, sausage, baked beans and tofu on top, pour broth over plate and bring to a boil, covered over medium heat. Let it boil for four to five minutes.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the rice cakes and instant noodles without the flavor bag. Remove the lid and continue cooking. Covered with cheese and served in individual bowls. Add more stock to reduce the soup as it continues to cook.

Hong Kong-style spam egg noodle soup

East meets West soup that's fun and kid-friendly
This East meets West soup is fun and kid-friendly. Photo: Roshen Cole/The Guardian

Spam noodle soup sits among thick French toast, scrambled eggs in pineapple buns, and dim sum as part of Hong Kong’s unique breakfast offerings. It is quick and convenient to prepare, convenient for children and convenient.

to equip 10 minutes
cook 10 minutes
serve 2

100g elbow macaroni
1 cm ginger
peeled and chopped
750 ml chicken broth
½ packet (170 g) spam,
sliced
1 green onion, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 package bok choy, Divide lengthwise and whiten
Sesame oilAnd the to serve

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan, and stir-fry the ginger slices until fragrant and golden (1 to 2 minutes). Add chicken broth, soy sauce and oyster sauce and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for seven to eight minutes, following the directions on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and fry the spaghetti until golden brown on both sides. Remove the spam and set aside, then fry the eggs in the same skillet.

To assemble, divide noodles and soup into two bowls, top with slices of spam, Chinese cabbage, an egg and sliced ​​green onions. Put more soup on top, sprinkle a little sesame oil and serve.

Spam, potatoes and green pepper pancakes

'I can eat five or six in one sitting': dumplings more common than spam, potatoes and chili
‘I can eat five or six in one sitting’: dumplings are more common than spam, potatoes and chili. Photo: Roshen Cole/The Guardian

These potato pancakes are highly addictive. I can eat five or six in one sitting before the guilt starts. Use a good versatile potato for this dish, such as cream or Dutch cream.

to equip 20 minutes
cook 20 minutes
Make 14 pancakes

1 kg of fried potatoes, peeled
1 can spam
1 egg,
to be beaten
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
3 green onionsAnd the Green part only, finely chopped
3 long green peppers, finely chopped
Salt and ground white pepperAnd the to taste
Vegetable oilAnd the for frying

Cut the potatoes into 3-4 cm pieces and cook in boiling water until tender.

Drain, steam dry, mash and allow to cool briefly. Add spam and mash well, then add eggs, green onions, parsley and green pepper. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

In a heavy-bottomed or non-stick frying pan, heat enough oil to a depth of 3 cm.

Shape the mixture into patties with a diameter of 5 cm and place directly and gently in the hot oil. Fry for four to five minutes until golden brown and crisp, flipping only once. Feet it right away.

Sig spam

Sisig, a traditional Filipino dish with a military history, can be facilitated with spam
Sisig, a traditional Filipino dish with a military history, can be facilitated with the use of spam. Photo: Roshen Cole/The Guardian

sister It is a Filipino dish of grilled and shredded pork (usually pig’s head and belly) with chicken liver, in Bright and sour marinade.

The classic sisig features papaya, green mango, and fish and other meats, but Modern Diversity of the Filipinos have cleverly repurposed excess pork from the US Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga. Traditional sisig requires several stages of cooking, but this recipe only needs one. Delicious sauce is the perfect choice for fatty, crispy meats. Serve on a hot plate if you have one, with plenty of steamed rice.

to equip 10 minutes
cook 15 minutes
serve 4

2 cans (680 g) Cut into dice 2 cm
½ red onion, cubes
2 bird’s eye peppers, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon calamansi lemon juice
Lime calamansi is sometimes available online and from specialty grocery stores; If you can’t find it – and you don’t have a friendly Filipino neighbor to ask – this can be replaced with regular lime
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
black pepper
1 egg yolk,
my choice

Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add spam and fry over medium heat until crispy and golden.

Transfer the crunchy spam to a bowl and mix with the chopped onion, cayenne pepper, fish sauce, lemon juice and vinegar, and season with black pepper to taste. Heat a plate or frying pan until smoking, add a little butter and serve directly on the hotplate.

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