I was recently introduced to the classic Hawaiian street food called Musubi, that if I’m being honest, I had absolutely no interest in sampling because of its main ingredient, that mystery meat with a shelf life of about a thousand years, Spam.

Spam might be every prepper’ss dream, but to those of us who strive to eat as naturally as possible, Spam is a bit of a nightmare. I mean, its main ingredient is “pork with ham.” This alone doesn’t make any sense, just strengthening my case against that canned “meat.”

However, my new friend James Book, owner of Tastee Tiki, a new Hawaiian food cart located in Newport right in the parking lot of Ossie’s Surf Shop, serves up excellent rice bowls, as well as that classic Hawaiian street food Musubi.

Out of an act of kindness and support, I decided to give Musubi a try, simply because I was being polite and absolutely no other reason than that. There are certainly components to this small Hawaiian snack that I already loved. Rice and seaweed are a couple of my favorites, but it was that hearty serving of Spam on top that had me seriously questioning my manners — at what length will I not go just for the sake of politeness? — but there was no turning back.

First, I smelled it because I suppose that’s step one when trying new, questionable foods, and it actually smelled really good, which calmed my nerves a bit, so I went in for the first bite. Fully expecting to gag or want to spit it right back out, I was genuinely perplexed at what I was tasting. Why was I not hating this? And even more concerning, why was I absolutely loving it?

So I went in for another bite, then another one just to be sure, and yep, I loved it! That savory “meat” marinated overnight, then fried in a sweet glaze, paired with white rice and nori was a flavor combo only the Hawaiian gods themselves could have dreamed up. I was hooked ... on Spam of all things!

Not only is Musubi absolutely delicious, it’s the ultimate on-the-go food, never needing refrigeration, which again makes me question my new infatuation for Spam. But it sure makes taking that tasty snack to the beach, on a hike or even a fishing trip awfully convenient. Plus, there’s a Hawaiian fishing tradition surrounding Musubi — while out on the boat, throw one out to feed the fishing gods and ask them to bless your fishing trip.

“You’ve got to give something to get something,” as they say.

So, the next time you’re in need of a delicious on-the-go food or just a good luck charm out there on the water, make a quick and simple batch of these Musubi ahead of time, or swing by Tastee Tiki and grab some of theirs to go.

This week I have two Musubi recipes for you. The first is a traditional Musubi, and since this is The Kitchen Wild, I also have a wild twist on Musubi with fresh-caught halibut cheeks and dried Alsea Bay kelp. until ready to eat.

Spam Musubi

Ingredients:

1, 12oz can of Spam (save can to use as mold)

Calrose rice, cooked

Nori roasted seaweed used for sushi, cut into 2 1/2” strips

1/2 cup Reduced sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup oyster sauce

Directions:

Slice Spam into 1/4” slices, starting from the top of the can working your way down to keep its shape.

Mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, and oyster sauce to create a marinade for the Spam. Marinate for at least 2 hours or over night is even better.

Once marinated, in a skillet over medium heat, fry the Spam on both sides, set aside. 

Using the reserved Spam can, scoop in a couple of spoonfuls of cooked calrose rice into the can, place fried spam on top and press down firmly. Turn can upside down and tap the bottom of the can to release your spam/rice.

Wrap rice and spam in your pre-cut strip of nori and enjoy or wrap in plastic wrap to take it on the go.

Halibut Cheek Musubi

w/Alsea Bay Kelp

Ingredients:

2 halibut cheeks

Calrose rice, cooked

Nori roasted seaweed used for sushi, cut into 2 1/2” strips

1/2 cup Reduced sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup oyster sauce

Directions:

Mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, and oyster sauce to create a marinade for the halibut cheeks. Marinate for at halibut for 2 hours.

Once marinated, in a skillet over medium heat, sauté the halibut for about 1-2 minutes per side depending on thickness, set aside.

Using Spam can or Musubi maker (found on Amazon) scoop in a couple of spoonfuls of cooked calrose rice into the can, place halibut check on top and press down firmly. Turn can upside down and tap the bottom of the can to release your halibut/rice. 

Wrap rice and halibut cheeks in your kelp or pre-cut strip of nori and enjoy immediately or refrigerate

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