Spam Fried Rice

JAPAN

Salty spam and leftover rice combine in this simple and delicious meal that spans generations

SUBMITTED BY

Katie

I was super excited to bring a comfort Japanese dish to my latest “How the World Eats Spam” episode, as many Japanese dishes are light, fresh, and very healthy. Spam fried rice is an inspired spin on one of the world’s favorite comfort meals, and I truly enjoyed it. The surprising inclusion of spam in this dish was a welcome one.

This recipe comes from Katie, who is from Delaware and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. Katie’s grandmother was born in Japan, and she lived there until her husband traveled to the area as part of the American military. They then married, and he brought her back to the United States. Katie and her family refer to spam fried rice as “Obasan’s fried rice” in honor of her grandmother, who incorporated Japanese cuisine elements with spam to create an excellent fried rice dish.

Although Katie’s family doesn’t claim spam fried rice as an authentic Japanese dish, the story of two cultures merging is an interesting one. Spam’s history in Asia is really connected with war, as it was sent over as rations for American soldiers while stationed in Asia. However, the United States also sent aid to the areas of Asia suffering from war-related destruction, and once people assimilated it into their culture, spam became part of many cuisines. 

This dish is best made with sticky rice, helping create the beloved fried rice texture we know and love. Also be sure to cook the spam until the edges are crispy; the savory soy sauce and slightly scrambled egg infuse the spam with additional flavor, which is key for any fried rice dish. The final product was a perfect blend of saltiness and rice, and the ratio of spam to egg was also perfect. My compliments to Katie’s grandmother!

Spam fried rice fills your belly with comforting flavors and textures. This dish truly tastes like something served at a restaurant, so you’re sure to impress your friends if you choose to share it! I hope you’ll make this spam fried rice recipe and think about the connections it reflects between cultures and people alike.

Watch the Video

Spam Fried Rice

Ingredients
  

  • 4-6 cups Leftover rice
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion Diced
  • 1 Small Can of Span Diced
  • 1 Egg Whisked
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce or more as needed

Instructions
 

  • Make sure rice is fully cooled. It's best to use leftover rice for this!
  • Heat oil in a deep non-stick frying pan. Sauté the onions and spam until onions are soft and lightly golden. 
  • Add another tablespoon of oil if needed before adding rice. Add cooked, cooled rice, breaking up the clumps, frying until heated through, about 5-7 minutes. 
  • Pour egg over rice, occasionally turning over and stirring until egg is completely cooked.
  • Drizzle soy sauce in a spiral motion over the rice, stir to combine well. Remove from heat and cover with a lid to “steam” a little, about 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy warm! 
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Region: Asia
Keyword: Comfort food

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