Just when you thought every conceivable food pairing had already been done with Hormel SPAM®, Hawaii’s number one selling canned good, Hamakua Plantations brings us SPAM-flavored Macadamia Nuts. Seriously? Now that sounds absolutely… ehem… NUTS!
When the stock clerk at Don Quijote was stacking them up on a pallet display in the store the other day, I actually did a double-take after glancing at the box labels, initially not believing what I was seeing. But sure enough that’s exactly what it was and it’s here!
I asked the clerk if he tried it, and to my surprise, he said it tasted truly as advertised, “Like SPAM-flavored Macadamia Nuts.” No way. No way!
So I just had to buy some and taste for myself if what he said is true, which is what we’re doing today.
Hamakua Plantations Hawaii Macadamia Nuts with SPAM® Classic Flavor are currently available in single 4.5 oz. canisters and also in a 2-canister gift box at select Hawaii retailers…
Let’s take a closer look at the packaging of each one, starting with the individual canister…
Doesn’t this just throw you off? It throws me off. Still scratching my head at the whole idea of it.
Darned it, anything with the name ‘SPAM’ on it just gotta’ have lots of fat. Even if it’s “just nuts”…
In this case, “Natural Flavoring” sounds a little scary lol…
In case you can’t read that (or see the image), the ingredients are: Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts, Maltodextrin, Sugar, Salt, Natural Flavoring, Yeast Extract, Cornstarch, Sunflower Oil, Silicon Dioxide, FD&C Red #40 Lake, Onion Powder. Contains Sulfate.
Here we have the gift box, which looks more like it’s trying to resemble the rectangular shape and label design of Hormel SPAM…
Hamakua Plantations’ to-the-point description of what this is supposed to taste like…
Let’s pop open the lid and see what we’ve got…
Just like it’s depicted on the label, the Macadamia Nuts are dusted somewhat generously with a mysterious finely-ground blend of salt and seasonings made to taste like dehydrated SPAM. Notice it has that “porky” pinkish-tan color to look like SPAM as well…
Kinda’ scary, right? I’m scared. lol
So how does it taste? Well son of a gun, it tastes like SPAM! The Don Quijote stock clerk was right! I kid you not.
It pretty much tastes just like a fried slice of SPAM wrapped around a Macadamia Nut. Albeit rather subtle, since the Macadamia nut makes up the majority of its mass, so that naturally is the dominant flavor as you crunch through it. Yet whatever hint of “SPAMMY-ness” the flavored, finely-powdered coating offers, is just enough to notify your palate it’s there. Very well balanced.
In and of itself, the powdery coating tastes slightly porky, just like SPAM. Somewhat “mystery-meatish”, just like SPAM. Along with that well-balanced salty (but not too salty) element to punch out those aforementioned attributes just like SPAM. It even smells kinda’ “SPAMMY”. All in a good way.
That is if you’re OK with the flavor of real Hormel SPAM. If not, your opinion will surely differ from mine on this product.
All I gotta’ say is I really dig it! IMO, this is probably the most innovative and best-tasting flavored Macadamia Nut product to hit store shelves yet. Well, I am also fond of the sweet honey-glazed variety, but this savory version nails it.
Of course, if you lick or suck off all the SPAM-flavored powdered coating (which is actually tempting considering how yummy it is), it tastes like a plain ‘ole Macadamia Nut. Yet as long as you don’t do that and bite through it in one fell swoop, you get the best of both worlds.
It’s surprising how well the creamy and robust Macadamia Nut matches with the savory-salty SPAM-flavored coating.
As it is out of the canister, I’ll give it a “well I’ll be darned, it’s really GOOD!” 3 SPAM Musubi.
Now being these nuts tastes like SPAM, do you think we should stop at that? Of course not! How about this…
Ah yes my friends, SPAM Macadamia Nut Musubi! Now THAT’s what you call NUTS! lol
Notice on this model how the SPAM-flavored Macadamia Nut replaces the usual Ume (a red-dyed Japanese tart pickled plum) in the center.
On the other one, I took the SPAM-flavored Macadamia Nuts and roughly chopped them up, then scattered it on the Omusubi with Furikake…
And guess what? Both of them were pretty darned good! I kid you not! Especially the chopped SPAM-flavored Macadamia Nuts with the Furikake. The marriage of textures and flavors between the nori, sesame seeds, bonito and chopped SPAM-flavored Mac’ nuts, along with the soft and neutral white rice was fantastic! I think if you evenly combined the rice with the furikake and the chopped SPAM-flavored Mac’ Nuts before forming the musubi (versus scattered on top), it would be even better. Yet this is a good start! Definitely an idea someone like Manabu-san could turn into something great.
Speaking of that perfect marriage of SPAM and Nori, check this out…
Yes, this is a whole SPAM-flavored Macadamia Nut wrapped with a (very thin and tiny) strip of Nori to resemble a SPAM Musubi. Keep in mind this macro shot probably make it appear much larger on your computer screen than it actually is, where each SPAM-flavored whole Mac’ nut in the can measures on average about just a half-inch in diameter.
While like the Musubi above, this might sound absurd or insane, the flavor and texture combination of the savory and robust SPAM-flavored Macadamia Nut along with the earthy, slightly chewy Nori was oishii! I can definitely see a future in marketing a product like this. Try wrapping a Macadamia Nut with Nori… buggah’ is winnahz! Even better with the SPAM flavoring! If they sold “Maki Nori SPAM Macadamia Nuts”, I’d buy that!
Wrapping it up, I’m very impressed with Hamakua Plantations Hawaii Macadamia Nuts with SPAM® Classic Flavor. What I thought was going to be a disappointing gimmick that probably wouldn’t last long on the market, turned out having promise. My guess is this will be a keeper, yet only time and sales will tell.
Then again, this is one of those cases where you’ll either love or hate it, without much room in the middle.
Now all we need is SPAM® Classic Flavor Powder sold in retail-sized packets, where just like Li Hing Powder, we can sprinkle it on fruits, chips, ice cream, shave ice and other snacks. lol
What? Hamakua Plantations Hawaii Macadamia Nuts with SPAM® Classic Flavor
Who makes it? Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company
Where did you buy it and how much did it cost? Kaheka Don Quijote. $4.39 per 4.5 oz. canister. $9.49 per 2-canister gift box.
Big shaka to: For what it’s worth, the powdered coating tastes as genuine to fried SPAM® as you can get! The SPAM flavor marries quite well with the “creamy” and mildly-robust Macadamia Nuts. Works suprisingly well in a Musubi with Nori. SUPRISINGLY well. Even better when you chop the SPAM-flavored Mac’ nuts and mix it in with the Furikake and rice. Simply wrapping the SPAM-flavored Macadamia Nut with Nori tastes great too. SPAM Logo and blue background packaging label is catchy, as is the concept.
No shaka to: As much as I like how it tastes, the sound of it — “Macadamia Nuts with SPAM” — still bothers me. lol
The Tasty Island rating: 3 SPAM Musubi