Hawaii consumes more spam per person than any other region in the world. The canned luncheon meat was first introduced to the Aloha State for American soldiers during World War II. By the time the soldiers departed Hawaii, spam had made its way into the local culinary scene—often with an Asian twist (e.g., the classic spam musubi involves wrapping savory spam with sushi rice and seaweed). This month, Hawaii celebrates its unique connection to spam with the annual Waikiki SPAM JAM Festival.
Why You Should Attend the Waikiki SPAM JAM Festival
Every year, Hawaii residents dine on more than 7 million cans of spam. To put that into perspective, there are only 1.44 million residents across the island chain. It's no wonder Hawaii would be home to the biggest food festival in the world devoted solely to this ubiquitous luncheon meat.
The Waikiki SPAM JAM Festival takes place each year in the heart of Waikiki:
- 30+ restaurants and vendors cook up imaginative takes on canned spam, elevating it to culinary levels you could never imagine
- Three entertainment stages featuring live entertainment and music all day and night
- Numerous booths and tents with local crafters and vendors selling unique gifts (yes, even spam-themed gifts)
What Does Spam Taste Like?
While it may get a bad rap in certain corners, it's a unique ingredient that food critics actually rave about. "Spam is truly delicious," reports Delish magazine. "It's salty and a little spicy with a flavor most similar to ham."
In Hawaii, you rarely eat it straight from the can. Instead, Hawaiians put a culinary twist on it:
- Searing the spam carmelizes its fat and gives it a crispy yet juicy texture
- Marinating the spam in sauces like soy sauce, hoisin, or oyster sauce adds an irresistible sweet-and-savory umami flavor
- Garnishing the spam with toppings like furikake (a savory and sweet rice Japanese rice seasoning made with seaweed, sesame seeds, etc.)
At the annual SPAM JAM Festival, chefs take this humble ingredient and create mouth-watering takes on Hawaii's favorite ingredient.
Important Event Details: SPAM JAM Festival 2023
- Location: The festival functions as a giant block party running along Waikiki's Kalakaua Avenue, just a 1-minute walk from the centrally located Waikiki Resort Hotel.
- Dates and time: The 2023 Waikiki SPAM JAM Festival takes place on April 29, 2023, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Tickets: It's free to attend and no tickets are required!
- Parking: Parking is notoriously difficult in Waikiki on a good day, and nigh impossible when big events take place—we recommend staying at a nearby hotel or taking public transit (if you're intent on driving to the festival, there will be parking discounts announced soon).
Delicious Must-Try Dishes at the 2023 SPAM JAM Festival
This year's festival features 30+ restaurants, each offering its own unique take on spam. Some popular entrees and snacks you won't want to miss include:
- A candied spam hula pie from Duke's Waikiki, featuring a sinful amount of vanilla ice cream smothered in thick chocolate and garnished with sweet, candied spam
- Spam and kimchee ahi poke from Ko Tiki Terrace, a spicy take on a classic Hawaiian pupu (appetizer)
- A gyro wrap stuffed with generous amounts of spam, lamb, and beef from Greek Grotto
- A green eggs and spam pizza with roasted shishito peppers from Appetito Craft Pizza and Wine Bar
You can rinse down these ono (delicious) meals with creative spam-themed drinks, such as a spam mai tai from Stripsteak Waikiki or a spam bloody mary from Ko Tiki Terrace.
If you're planning to see what the spam hype is all about, you can't go wrong with this year's SPAM JAM Festival. Skip the stress of parking and transit by booking a stay at the Waikiki Resort Hotel. Not only are you just steps from where the world's biggest spam food festival will be held, but you're also conveniently near all that Waikiki has to offer—from world-class shopping to sun-kissed beaches and lagoons. Book your stay at the Waikiki Resort Hotel online or call us at 1-800-367-5116 to see why our location, friendly staff, convenience, and amenities give us top ratings among our guests.