Monday is National Spam Musubi Day (Thanks, L&L!)


Mon­day August 8 is the Sec­ond Annu­al L&L Hawaiʻi Nation­al Spam Musubi Day, and that means a free musubi from L&L Hawaiʻi. Launched by the ven­er­a­ble Hawaiʻi com­pa­ny and licensed by Hormel Foods, this it-should-be-a-hol­i­day is anoth­er quirky and fun Hawaiʻi thing. 

And because I love both spam and his­to­ry, letʻs have a lit­tle of both in todayʻs blog post. Spam_musubi

Spam musubi  is sticky white rice topped with a slice of sea­soned cooked spam, wrapped up in a piece of crunchy nori sea­weed. In my post on 12 Things Native Hawai­ian and Hawaiʻi Kids Like, — my addi­tion to chil­dren’s author Tara Lazar’s 500+ Things That Kids Like — spam musubi is right there near the top of the list. Thatʻs because itʻs a con­ve­nient, inex­pen­sive, pack­able lunch. 

Canned spam first became pop­u­lar in Hawaiʻi dur­ing WW II. Soon home cooks were cre­at­ing dish­es made from the salty canned meat. When I was grow­ing up, we ate spam all the time, includ­ing fried with eggs and rice (which is a favorite break­fast order at Hawaiʻi McDon­alds restau­rants.) The first time my col­lege room­mates saw me fry­ing up spam, they freaked out, that is, until they tast­ed it. 

Hawaiʻiʻs Bar­bara Funa­mu­ra is cred­it­ed with invent­ing spam musubi in the ear­ly 1980s for the Joni-Hana restau­rant on Kauaiʻi, accord­ing to the Gar­den Island news­pa­per. Mrs. Funa­mu­ra had no idea that her hum­ble recipe would, like many great inven­tions, become so popular.

My kids grew up pack­ing spam musubis to eat after hula and soc­cer prac­tice, and to this day, itʻs a sat­is­fy­ing treat. Our sim­ple method was sim­ply splash­ing a bit of shoyu into the pan as the spam cooked, but a search on the inter­net reveals lots of fan­cy recipes.

Oh, and did you get the August 8/8–08 shout-out to our area code? Hap­py Spam Musubi day! Pho­to cred­it: L&L Hawai­ian BBQ

Lā Hoʻi Hoʻi ʻEa is July 31


La_Hoʻi_Hoʻi_ʻEaJuly 31 is Lā Hoʻi Hoʻi ʻEa in Hawaiʻi! Estab­lished by Kauikeauoli (King Kame­hame­ha III), Sov­er­eign­ty Restora­tion Day is a nation­al hol­i­day that com­mem­o­rates the return in 1843 of Hawaiʻi to the right­ful Hawai­ian gov­ern­ment after it was seized by the Unit­ed King­dom. He declared, “Ua mau ke ʻea o ka ʻāi­na i ka pono,” the life of the land is per­pet­u­at­ed in right­eous­ness. E mau a mau!

Many Native Hawai­ians rec­og­nize this day — and not July 4 — as our inde­pen­dence day.

From 1843 to 1893, Lā Hoʻi Hoʻi ʻEa was observed through­out Hawaiʻi nei with games, speech­es, and much fes­tiv­i­ty. But in 1893 when the Hawai­ian king­dom was over­throw in a coup dʻe­tat by Amer­i­can busi­ness­men, our day of inde­pen­dence was banned. As this yearʻs co-orga­niz­er, Imaikalani Win­ches­ter, writes, “like our moth­er tongue, our nation­al mem­o­ry was torn from us.”(“Ea Mai Ka Lahui,” Ka Wai Ola O Oha.)

Then in 1986, in an effort led by activist Dr. Keku­ni Blais­dell, Lā Hoʻi Hoʻi ʻEa was brought back, start­ing with a gath­er­ing at Thomas Square in Hon­olu­lu. The Hon­olu­lu Adver­tis­er announced the event in a small para­graph buried in the news­pa­per. The event, the arti­cle promised, was a two-hour potluck pic­nic, a flag-rais­ing cer­e­mo­ny, and talk sto­ry sessions. 

Today we cel­e­brate through­out the pae ʻāi­na and across the globe, and our kūpuna and the painful truth of our col­lec­tive history.

Maha­lo nui to all of those who con­tin­ue to share their alo­ha and their man­aʻo with us all.

For a list of this yearʻs events, vis­it the Lā Hoʻi Hoʻi Face­book page