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…
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!
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.