A crime wave in Hawaii targeting cans of Spam has driven shopkeepers to lock away the tinned meat for fear of it being stolen.
What’s driving the sudden surge in mystery-meat theft? Tina Yamaki, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, told The Washington Post that it’s likely become a form of currency on the state's black market.
'We’ve heard that they’re selling it from the back of their cars. We’ve heard all kinds of rumours. Whether they’re true or not, I’m not sure,' she said. Yes, that curious meat you remember from childhood may lose its wholesome image due to nefarious dealings.
It might seem strange to Australians the canned product could prove lucrative in underground circles, but in Hawaii, the demand for Spam is high. 'It’s a staple,' Tina said.
Spam became popular in Hawaii during World War II when supplies of fresh meat were scarce and Spam provided a desperately needed source of protein. It now forms a major part of of the Hawaiian diet.
Since WWII Hawaiians have enjoyed a range of dishes with Spam as the hero ingredient. At home they may feast on ‘Spam and eggs’ and ‘Spam fried rice’. The Korean Spam stew, budae jjigae, is also a popular dish.
You can also find Spam musubi, a sushi-like dish with rice, seaweed, and – you guessed it – Spam.
Have you tried any of Hawaii's Spam delicacies? Tell us in the comments.
Recovering caffeine-addict and serial bruncher Eliza Murray feels most at home typing away in a cozy cafe with her re-mortgaged avocado toast nearby. When she isn't reporting on the latest Instagram-shattering glittery food trends, she can be found experimenting with new gin garnishes (hello strawberries!) or biting into an entire wheel of brie (no shame). She tweets @theothereliza