Since the advent of the internet, Spam has taken on a whole new meaning. To most of us, Spam means electronic junk mail or any unsolicited commercial advertisement distributed online but here on Saipan, Spam is still canned luncheon meat!
There are all sorts of interesting foods available on the island. Chinese, Japanese and Thai are all popular but the local favourite seems to be Spam! We’ve been to a lot of potluck meals in our time but this summer was the first time I ever saw fried Spam at one of them! I’m not sure if the Sedgewick Coop even sells Spam but on Saipan, the grocery stores have shelves and shelves of it! I didn’t realize that Spam came in different varieties but now I know. In addition to Spam Classic, there’s Hot & Spicy, Hickory Smoked, Oven Roasted Turkey and even Spam Lite. There’s Spam with Bacon and Spam with Cheese as well as several other choices. Yesterday, I even saw Limited Edition Island Spam in one of the tourist shops!
This summer, grocery stores on the island are advertising a special Spam promotion. Sixteen labels will get you a Spam Island Saipan t-shirt! There are also ball caps and other memorabilia available. One of the stores is also advertising a Spam carving contest!
Did you know that there’s even a Spam website? Imagine the possibilities! You can play Spam games, order merchandise or buy your friend a Spam gift certificate! That should make birthday and Christmas shopping easier! You can also learn all about the history of Spam.
Perhaps history is the clue to Spam’s popularity on the island. Between 1941 and 1945, more than 100 million pounds of Spam Classic were shipped abroad to feed the Allied troops. That’s a lot of Spam! In 1944, those troops took the island of Saipan from the Japanese. They placed the native civilians in interment camps for their own protection and I suspect they fed them Spam.
What about you? Any Spam lovers out there? Wherever we travel, we like to sample the local foods but so far we’ve avoided this island favourite. After seeing some of the meat that’s sold in the grocery stores however, I’m beginning to see the appeal of something that comes in a clean, shiny can!