Macadamia Nuts with SPAM® Classic Flavor

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…


Hamakua Plantations Hawaii Macadamia Nuts with SPAM® Classic Flavor.
$4.39 per 4.5 oz. canister, $9.49 per 2-canister gift box.

Let’s take a closer look at the packaging of each one, starting with the individual canister…


Hamakua Plantations Hawaii Macadamia Nuts with SPAM® Classic Flavor, $4.39

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 Hawaii Macadamia Nuts with SPAM® Classic Flavor Gift Box, $9.49

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



Comments

Macadamia Nuts with SPAM® Classic Flavor — 49 Comments

  1. Last night, I picked up a few cans at Longs so that I can review them too. I also liked them. I wonder if the company intended them to be more for kamaaina or tourists.

  2. Pomai, so far no items in San Francisco yet. My aunt like to try it now but have to wait. Contact mgr of Safeway and other stores but most like it just for Hawaii now. If so I will mail her some.

  3. *THUNK*

    That was the sound of me hitting the floor.

    What an inspired pairing — please, please, please let this not be a limited time only release!

    Um, I’m going to Tokyo next month. Any interest in a package exchange — some of these for some stuff from Japan?

    That nori-wrapped mac is the wee cutest thing …

  4. Gotta try that, it’s just too weird. It kind of reminds me of that old Reese’s peanut butter cups ad:

    “Hey!… you got Spam in my mac nuts! Hey!… you got mac nuts in my Spam!” ;)

  5. See, now, it’s this sort of thing that’s kept me addicted to your blog for so long (albeit in a lurky way). This is something that I’ll never, ever, ever see up here in the Adirondacks, and it’s just… fascinating!

  6. Joan, I bet most folks in the greater Adirondacks area (and far beyond that!) would shudder at just the sound of it, let alone buy it. I surely found it fascinating, which is why it ended up in my cart, and I’m not usually an impulse shopper.

    Mitcho, never heard of bacon salt before. I’ll have to look that up. To note, being classic SPAM flavored, these Mac’ Nuts don’t taste smoked.

    Fat Fudge, are you referring to the Marukai here on Oahu, or the ones in Cali’?

    Marcus I used that classic Reese’s TV commercial as an example recently in a post on Maebo’s One Ton Chip Cookies. Funny script lines there. lol

    Debbie-chan and Vicki, I emailed the company today. Hopefully I’ll get more information in a response, as their website doesn’t even have the product listed yet.

    Marvo, looking forward to your TIB review on it! There were a few Nihongin tourists checking it out while I was there looking at it in the store. It certainly stands out as something new amongst the already-existing vast selection in DQ.

    Kat, indeed.

  7. Hmmm….this looks promising for a vegetarian like me. I miss spam… sorta-kinda so I sometimes use BaconSalt, another faux pork flavored seasoning as a reasonable substitute. I really want to try this!

    On another note… I wondering which is stranger, the spam macadamia nuts or macadamia nuts with rice!? ;)

  8. OnoEats, I’m not into that whole Twitter thing. Good grief, I barely check my Facebook page. This is enough online “work” as it is. Subscribe to The Tasty Island RSS feed and you’ll be kept updated on the latest happenings here.

    HapaBento, you’re the second person to comment about “Bacon Salt”. I’ll have to look for that on my next run to the grocery store. Sounds kinda’ scary, actually. lol

    As for your question, I think “all of the above”. SPAM Macadamia Nuts with Rice! lol Ironically, when it was all combined, it was delicious!
     
     

  9. 1/3/10

    Aloha, looking forward to see and taste some innovative spam & mac ‘nuts.
    Can’t wait tooo long. Send some to so. ca.

    Mahalo Nui Loa,

    cliff

  10. Wow, I would have loved to be in the test kitchen too see how many combinations of Spam-flavored powdered they came up with.

    Bet I won’t see this in Seattle (boo!). I think most Spam products are really for the Hawaii market.

  11. Jenny, I still think they should package that SPAM-flavored powder and sell it in the Hawaii Market. Then we can come up with crazy concoctions like SPAM Margaritas, SPAM Salad Dressing and SPAM Shave Ice. lol

    Pikko, glad you took that humorously, which is halfway how I intended my “SPAM Macadamia Nut Musubi” creations to be interpreted. Thankfully it wasn’t all fun ‘n games playing with food, and was actually quite tasty!

    James, I don’t know bro’, those Macadamia Nut flavor ideas you suggested don’t sound good at all. Then again, at least on paper, “SPAM flavored Macadamia Nuts” doesn’t ring quite well either, IMO.

    Parts, wow, you really dig it eh? I guess I was sort of “enlightened” when I first tried it.

    Cliff, hope you got yours by now.

     

  12. Mele, I think you meant to say “BLECCCHHH!”

    I hear you. This is certainly a love or hate product, just like SPAM. lol

    The poll as of this writing is at 306 unique votes, with 21 of you saying you tried it and thought it tastes ono, while 6 of you who tried it didn’t care care for it.

    More interestingly, 117 of you haven’t tried Macadamia Nuts with SPAM Classic Flavor, yet think it actually looks and/or sounds ono!

    Really? I wouldn’t have voted that. I would have voted that it sounded and looked GROSS. lol

    Although as expected, we don’t have a majority vote with either those of you who tried it or those of you who haven’t, which as I predicted, this will most likely be either a love or hate thang in all perceptions of it.

     

  13. The 2 can pack cost $12.39 at Longs on Maui-a little pricey but everyone in the office said “is that a joke” but tried it. I thought they tasted okay and I have some on the way to my daughter in Seattle who will love them as they do taste like spam.

  14. Where can I buy the Spam Mac Nuts on Maui? I just called Longs and they laughed and said they don’t have them.

  15. These are the most disgusting things I have ever tasted. The smell alone almost made me vomit! Either the can we received is rancid or these are truly disgusting! Everyone who tasted them at work today spit them out. YUCK!

  16. My sister sent me the double pack of Mac nut’s – AWESOME!!! They were so good that I didn’t even want to share with my hubby, but I did. He liked them too. Being from Minnesota and a member of the Spam fan club, hats off to who thought up this one. Hope to see them next to the spam in the grocery store soon.

    Minnesota Fan
    Wendy

  17. oh wow, now I can bring home something other than the usual macadamia nuts (not that I don’t like it, but it just gets boring).

  18. hey, wake the @7?/.!!!! up

    These nuts are the worst tasting thing ever. you might as well eat cow shit mac nuts. Never had them? Well I will send em to ya. Forget about this shit and grab some da kine eat nuts da kine brah. you know what I mean? No grind dese buggurs.

    Lates, Ned

  19. Ned, Lauren and Angelika, sorry to hear it tasted that bad for you. On the contrary, the poll here proves more folks liked it (68 votes) compared to those who didn’t (16 votes).

    Wendy and Jon, currently SPAM Macadamia Nuts are only being sold at select Hawaii stores. Or you can buy it online, but I think it’s better to make it the excuse to use in planning your next vacation to Hawaii! ;-)

    Denise, try calling ABC stores in Maui. They might have it. If not, try Hilo Hattie.

  20. i confess … i bought this as a xmas present last year and sent it to my sister! i didn’t buy a can for my family ’cause i couldn’t imagine it being terribly tasty. lol…. now having read this article, maybe i acted too hastily? ;- )

  21. Just found your site linked from the Asian Aisle blog-glad I did!! I love Spam, and mac nuts so this doesn’t sound awful, and your review makes it sound pretty good. I usually don’t ask for “souvenirs” when friends/fam take trips, but I am SO asking my cousin for a can when he goes to Kihei next month!

  22. Rachael L, it’s very good! If it were cheaper I’d buy it more often. That’s the only problem, where at almost $5 for a small can, it’s more a novelty treat than a staple snack. But yeah, definitely as a souvenir (omiyage) to take back to the states, SPAM Macadamia Nuts is the one to get! Hot stuff!

  23. this totally surprised me. it tastes nothing like spam, not meaty in any way. it has a smokey flavor like the nut was smoked-marinated for a few days, and the texture changed…a bit softer. if the nut was WET, this would be a macadamia version of boiled peanuts(but not soft)

  24. Harriet, at least speaking for the Iwilei and Hawaii Kai Costco locations here on Oahu, they currently DO NOT carry these SPAM-flavored Macadamia Nuts. However, they do carry Macadamia Nut Almond Roca (I was just in there today to verify that), which I also HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

    For the SPAM Macadamia Nuts, try checking Foodland or Safeway when you’re here (depending which island). On Oahu, Don Quijote carries it (there’s one just about 5 minutes outside of Waikiki), which costs about $4 a can, which is on the higher side by Mac Nut retail price standards here locally, yet I think worth it for the sake of the novelty to try it yourself and/or give away as gifts (or as we say here in Hawaii, “Omiyage”).

  25. These things taste fantastic, both flavours come through clearly – we were just in Kauai and discovered them then, but not many stores had them. Does anyone know if they sell them on the US mainland anywhere?

  26. Such a great response to this post! I can’t believe how many people commented :D I Haven’t tried SPAM Macadamia Nuts but after reading this blog and it’s following comments, how could I not be tempted! Pretty sure they’re still only available in Hawaii. Best bet is to order them online.

  27. Pingback: Best of the Spam Filter, August 2012 « Exiled Stardust

    • “Exiled Stardust
      An artist flung out of her home galaxy, writing about art, culture and travel”

      From one weirdo to another, thanks! lol

  28. Pingback: SPAM Macadamia Nuts | Canned Treats

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