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Kauai Classic: Goteborg Musubi

JOBO’s Goteborg Musubi from The Poke Bowl at Ward Farmers Market (on Oahu)

In a recent write-up on The Poke Bowl in Ward Farmers Market, a glimpse was shown of this unique treat from Kauai they call JOBO’S Goteborg Musubi. Intent on trying this thing out, I stopped by there early this morning and picked up several packs to take to work.

See, this regional specialty – and the Goteborg sausage itself – is something many of us “Oahuans” aren’t familiar with. At least everyone within our group (of Oahuans) concur to have never come across it before.

My girlfriend’s mother was born and raised on Kauai (Koloa), and she certainly remembers growing up eating Goteborg sausage and these musubi offspring.

The question remains why Goteborg, up to now, was just a “Kauai thing”, and never spread across the island chain sooner.

What’s just as intriguing is the various nicknames this musubi is given, depending who and where you’re getting it from.

If you’re from Kauai, it’d be great if you could chime-in and comment about your experiences, such as: where’s your favorite place on the garden isle to get it; nicknames you know of; history behind it, etc..

As you see by the sign card and label on the container, The Poke Bowl guys call identify theirs as JOBO’s..

4-piece Jobo’s (Goteborg Musubi), $2.50 from The Poke Bowl

Turns out, as Derek, co-owner of The Poke Bowl explains (which I have some explaining on that a bit later), “JOBO” is the name of their friend from Kauai who recommended they offer this in their shop. Hence the name “JOBO’s Goteborg Musubi”. So there you have it. A nickname to the dish given strictly by an inner-circle referral.

There’s a couple other nicknames for it out there, such as a user on Yelp who says the Goteborg Musubi are also known as “UFOs” on Kauai. I also found a cooking demonstration on iamHawaii.com from George Yoshida’s Kitchen, who calls them “Flying Saucers”. These two names obviously based on the disc-like, inverted concave shape of the sausage on the bottom, with the rice on top resembling a “glowing orb”. Perhaps they’ll come out with a sci-fi movie titled “Attack of the Jobo’s”. lol

Doing some online research on Goteborg (also known as Swedish Sausage), it’s explained as being a type of summer sausage (dry and doesn’t need refrigeration) made using 75% beef and 25% pork, prepared by double-grind method, then cured and flash heat-smoked.

When you heat up Goteborg for serving, just like Portuguese and most other large-diameter sausages, it tightens up and becomes concave, as seen here…

Those folks of Kauai must have looked it and thought, what else to put in that “bowl” but a ball of rice with Furikake on top! Simply brilliant. Perhaps the precursor to SPAM Musubi?!

Here I am holding one, showing a cross-bite section…

My (adult-size) hand helps provide a scale to its actual size, which is about 2″ in diameter across the sausage base, making the whole thing just a tad bigger than a regulation golf ball. As you see its construction is very simple, with just a thin slice of Goteborg sausage as a base, and warm (to room temp’) white (I think unsalted) rice balled on top, then topped with a light sprinkle of Furikake. Easy.

Gotta’ add, The Poke Bowl knows how to cook rice right, with just enough stick, without being too soggy or dry. Perfect musubi rice. I’m sure even Manabu san would agree.

The Poke Bowl sells them in packs of 4 for just $2.50…

Good deal.

These really are fantastic and a refreshing change over the heavily-exploited SPAM Musubi (I’m partially to blame for that!).

The cup shape of the sausage base makes them easy to hold and bite into.

Upon tasting it, the texture and flavor of the Goteborg sorta’ reminds me of Salami. The smoke flavor is very subtle, yet enough to punch out the more pronounced beef (vs. pork) flavor it has. That subtle smokiness also gives it a breakfast sausage-like quality, having you think perhaps some eggs on the side would be a winner! There’s a slight hint of spices in the sausage that are hard to pinpoint (garlic, mustard powder and nutmeg?), yet of course do add character to it.

The (tolerable) saltiness of the Goteborg makes just a thin slice more than adequate to flavor the bulk of musubi rice topped on it here, which is portioned perfectly for bite-to-bite balance. Top that with the furikake (Nori/Goma/Bonito) for the finishing touch and you have one tasty, all-in-on package. Everyone in our office really liked it, with 3 and 4-SPAM musubi ratings across the board, all noting those attributes described above.

Not stopping there, Derek offered me a sample of their Shoyu Ahi Limu Poke today, made using their improved grade previously frozen Ahi from Tropic’s…

The Poke Bowl – Shoyu Ahi Limu Poke (improved grade previously frozen from Tropic’s)

How is it? If Derek didn’t tell me it was previously frozen, I’d swear it came straight from the auction block. Honestly, “Like buttah”! Gooooood stuff. And this is the batch they’ll be serving on their Poke Bowls from now on, while supplies last. Nice. The FRESH stuff (priced a few dollars higher) is also available as a Poke Bowl upgrade, or for poke-only purchase.

Having this awesome Poke, along with 2 packs of JOBO’s Goteborg Musubi on the same table, I could NOT resist making what I’ll call the “Goteborg Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl”…

A Tasty Island prototype – “Goteborg Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl” (here’s a deconstructed top view)

Or you can all it “JOBO’s Ahi Poke Bowl”, or “Alien Surf ‘N Turf” (based on the UFO/Flying Saucer concept).

How was it? Very good! The somewhat ocean-flavored Limu (Ogo) mixed with the ahi was the only thing that was odd in contrast to the savory, earthy (subtly-smoked) sausage, so perhaps if you used the regular Shoyu Ahi Poke it would be even better. Still, the “buttery” texture of the improved quality frozen ahi made it almost melt into the rice as I bit into it, while its fresh taste accented by the mild shoyu-based marinade, when eaten along with the Goteborg actually worked. At least liked it. It LOOKS pretty good too, IMO. If you’re the experimental type, try this yourself and let us know what ya’ think!

It’s hard to believe Oahu has gone for so long without catching on to this Kauai classic. Yet I’m glad the good guys over at The Poke Bowl listened to their friend Jobo and finally introduced it to us. Whinnahz!

Kauai’s classic

Goteborg Musubi (a.k.a. Jobo’s/UFO/Flying Saucer)

from The Poke Bowl in Ward Farmers Market

The Tasty Island rating:

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

P.S. In my initial write-up on The Poke Bowl, I had mistaken (criss-crossed) Derek and Craig’s names. Gomenasai! The brother I spoke with (and have pictured with Tyrone (“Tunda”) is DEREK, while Craig is his brother who was mostly in the back kitchen. Derek and Craig thought it was kinda’ funny. I already fixed it in that posting.

71 thoughts on “Kauai Classic: Goteborg Musubi

  • January 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm
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    Pat and Jan, the only place selling Hormel’s Goteborg Sausage on Oahu now is Times Supermarket and Marukai’s Dillingham warehouse location (not the Ward store). Don Quijote brought it in for a short time, but I guess it didn’t do well.

    Speaking of which, I need to get more. Good stuff!

    Roger, thanks for the additional info’ on “Flying Saucers”. On my next jump to Kauai, I will not leave without finding some!

    Reply
  • March 6, 2011 at 3:09 pm
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    Born and raised on Kauai, this was one of our favorite sausage (my Mom just called it “Hard Sausage”). We had to make special trips to the Sueoka Market in Koloa to purchase it. We just fried it and ate it with rice – a MUST item when going on a picnic. Replace the spam in the spam musubi with this sausage and it is a big hit!

    Sure missed it after moving to the mainland, but I now find it at the Marukai Market here in California.

    Reply
  • March 7, 2011 at 6:46 am
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    Lillian,

    Marukai in Honolulu (Dillingham & Ward) currently has Goteborg Sausage advertised in their membership circular, running at the lowest price I’ve seen yet at $5.29 per pound. How much does it cost out there in Cali’?

    Reply
  • March 26, 2011 at 3:02 pm
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    Wrtoe to classmates from Waimea High School – here are some of the responses –
    Betty -Ishihara Mkt. in Waimea makes all da time… My granddaughter’s favorite. Thanks for sharing.

    Edith -Gwen was making the goteborg musubi way back when she was still baking at Ishihara Market, this is nothing new.

    Reply
  • June 24, 2012 at 7:07 am
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    Just spoke to my brother in Colorado Springs, CO. Wants to know where he can purchase some Goteberg. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • June 24, 2012 at 7:13 am
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      As already mentioned, here on Oahu you can usually (not always) find Goteborg Sausage at Times Supermarket and Marukai. Occasionally Don Quijote brings it in.

      Reply
  • August 10, 2012 at 10:05 pm
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    hello from kauai! :) i just wanted to chime in and say YES, there is a huge difference between UFOs and flying saucers! flying saucers is usually only found at bon dance time…. and as your readers have pointed out, they are handheld gems of sloppy joe mix and american cheese that’s nicely toasted in between 2 slices of white bread. it’s such a simple thing, but maybe the scarcity of its availability is what makes it so coveted….?

    anywho. if you’re interested in checking out this other kauai “delicacy”, some kauai folks will be making “authentic” flying saucers at the aiea soto mission bon dance. only catch is that that bon dance is on august 10 & 11.

    Reply
    • August 11, 2012 at 8:20 am
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      Akemi, I’ll try to make it there tonight at the Aiea Soto Mission Bon Dance to sample some “authentic Kauai style Flying Saucers”. Domo arigato gozaimasu!

      Reply
  • April 30, 2013 at 5:34 am
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    I first tried these on Kauai in Kapaa at the Shell Gas Station. I came in an hour late last flight to Kauai on AA.

    I was very hungry and pulled into the Shell Gas Station to get something to eat.

    They were making bento boxes with the Gotenborg Musubi’s. I didn’t know what it was but it looked good so I bought one bento and tried it when I got to my hotel.

    Boy they were very good! :heart:

    I went back each day looking for them but could not find them at the Shell Gas Station. :brokenheart:

    Yesterday I found the Gotenborg Sausage at my local Marukai Market in Gardena, CA. You can buy the whole sausage or half sausage. It’s sold where they sell Hawaiian Food in the same section where they sell the Poke. :-)

    I bought the half Gotenborg Sausage. This morning I’m cooking some rice to make me some Gotenborg Musubi’s. :-)

    Reply
  • October 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm
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    Goteberg and rice also called flying saucers…when I go to Kauai I like to go to Lawai Store and eat this and everything else I miss. Goteberg with rice, mmmmmm! Thanks Amy for keeping in the loop.

    Reply
  • October 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm
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    Just found some Goteborg musubi at Don Quijote Waipahu. Big puck of rice with thick-cut sausage on top. Quite substantial. One definitely made me full. I have to check if they have the sausage for sale so I can make it at home. I have to admit, I like it more than spam musubi (sacrilege you say? LOL) I think there’s room for both!

    Reply
  • July 21, 2014 at 10:39 am
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    It was brought and later made on Kauai by German workers many years ago. It has always been our families favorite sausage for over 50 years. Tried to find them on Oahu while visiting but could not find them anywhere so I usually pick up a few to give to friends and family. It’s quite costly for a full sausage but so worth it. They sell them in Times Supermarket amongst other places.

    Reply
    • July 21, 2014 at 10:40 am
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      Forgot to mention. If you want to prevent them from curling, just make 4 evenly space slices to the sides before slicing it up.

      Reply
  • October 7, 2014 at 11:17 pm
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    I work at Pono Market on the beautiful Island of Kauai! We sell these goteborg musubi’s….they’re called UFO’s….ono!

    Reply
    • October 8, 2014 at 4:04 am
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      Kalia,

      Mahalo for once again clarifying that. There’s a few articles and discussion board comments flying around the web that mistakenly identify (pun intended) Goteborg Musubi as “Flying Saucers” for “UFOs”. Which I’ve since learned that a “Flying Saucer” is actually two pieces of bread filled with a Sloppy Joe type of mixture (tomato sauce and ground beef), along with cheese, pressed together in a special clamp and heated over an open fire.

      KAUAI “INSIDER’S” EATS:
      • “UFO” = Goteborg Musubi
      • “Flying Saucer” = “Sloppy Joe” style fire-roasted Sandwich “Pocket”

      Reply
  • October 8, 2014 at 4:29 pm
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    Born and raised on kauai goteborg is definitely a staple.  Favorite way to eat it is along side tuna and hot rice with shoyu and chili pepper water.  Yummy!!

    Reply
  • October 17, 2014 at 10:00 am
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    Grew up on Goteborg Sausage, now grandchildren love it also. Sausage can be
    found at Don Quiojite or Times Market. October 17, 2014

    Reply

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