Spam is not a gourmet ingredient – but it still holds a unique position in South Korean culture. It is even considered as a top-selling Chuseok harvest festival or the Korean Thanksgiving! It is the best side dish that everyone loves.
What is spam?
It is a pink brick of pre-cooked pork shoulder and ham, which was first launched in 1937 by US conglomerate Hormel Foods. Now, it is considered a thrifty pantry item, especially in the west. It was introduced in the peninsula by the US army in the 1950s. This happened during the Korean war when the country faced the food scarcity.
There’s even a SPAM museum in Austin, Texas, where the exhibits show a reflection of Hormel’s story and the credibility of the product.
In South Korea, this salty and high in fat meat product complements the spicy and tangy elements of Korean food! It is especially true for foods like kimchi as the flavors balance out correctly. It is a premium product in Korea, unlike in the west, and it is a huge deal in Korea.
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SPAM themed products
Generally, you add luncheon meat in your instant noodles or as a part of buddae jiggae. But, SPAM® Korea releases luncheon meat products ranging from SPAM soap bars to toothpaste. You can even get SPAM themed ice cream on a stick.