I may have missed the Waikiki SPAM JAM® this past weekend, however I’m fortunate in not having to wait any longer to try Hormel’s brand new SPAM® Portuguese Sausage Seasoning flavor, which officially debuted at the event.
While driving into downtown Honolulu today to take care of some business, I dropped by Times Supermarket on Beretania Street, where much to my delight after finding the shelf empty, as it turned out, they had a couple of cases in back that the clerk busted out just for me. I was like, “Whoah brah, what? Stashing out on us?!” lol
At the moment, Times Supermarket is the only retailer I could find on Oahu that’s carrying the new flavor, and today I was told by one of their grocery managers at the South King Street location that Hormel initially only gave them 2 cases per store in the initial shipment.
What’s funny is, as I stood in the aisle at Times where the SPAM products are, right after the clerk restocked the shelves with this new flavor, an older local Japanese guy showed up interested in the product as well, so I started talking to him about it, and he said he has a couple of relatives on the mainland that had already asked him to ship them some. So he ended up buying like about 10 cans I seen in his basket. I bought 2 cans just for this review, plus to share with the guys back at the office tomorrow.
The South King Street Times location was completely sold out, however their grocery manager told me he’s getting more in this Wednesday, and it should be on the shelves by about 10 in the morning. So there’s your tip if you’re on Oahu and really anxious to try it… Check out Times Supermarket!
Other than Times Supermarket where it’s already for sale, over the course of May, the SPAM van will be making stops at various retailers around Oahu where you can try the new flavor, plus enter for your chance to win a trip for two to San Diego to see Ed Sheeran live in concert. For more information, please visit HawaiiSpamCan.com.
One last, yet important note to make regarding availability, is the new Hormel SPAM Portuguese Sausage seasoning flavor is initially available EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE HAWAII MARKET ONLY, and is currently not available for retail sales anywhere else but in the islands.
That said, it’s no surprise they’re already showing up for sale online on sites such as eBay at some at pretty outrageous prices. $10 to $12.50 per can? Seriously?
At least those selling them online won’t have to worry about expiration date anytime soon, with these cans having a stamped-on shelf life of 3 years. That’s scary, yet awesome all at the same time! lol
The ingredients for SPAM Portuguese Sausage seasoning flavor are: Pork, mechanically separated chicken, water, salt, modified potato starch, sugar, flavoring, sodium phosphates, spices, paprika, sodium diacetate, palm oil, sodium nitrite, and oleoresin of paprika.
Mmm-mmm-mmm, doesn’t that all sound absolutely delicious!!!? They really should include HBP pills with every can. lol
Removing the SPAM® Portuguese Sausage seasoning flavor from the can, it clearly has a distinctive reddish tinge to it, just like the real deal. Suprisingly it had almost no “mystery goo”, that slippery slimy stuff that some other SPAM flavors have. There was just enough coating the brick of meat to slip it out the tightly-fitted rectangular can, and that’s it, with no extra drips.
I bought a Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage to compare this SPAM flavor with, where in the photo above, you can see that other than their shape, the SPAM® Portuguese Sausage seasoning flavor is strikingly similar to Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage both in color and coarseness of its ground meat chop.
It also has similar fat marbling.
Being the ingredients lists sugar, I was concerned it would burn easily, as did the SPAM Tocino flavor, however that wasn’t a problem at all, and it fried nice ‘n crisp with little worries about burning, but you definitely need to keep an eye on it. I always use a little oil, even in my non-stick pan, as the oil helps give it a nicer, more even, golden-brown crisp. And with that, it seeped out its Paprika spice into the oil just like actual Portuguese Sausage does, which is a good sign!
Above we have Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage, along with SPAM® Portuguese Sausage flavor, both pan-fried and ready for sampling.
So my first way to sample this is how they suggested serving it on the back of the can, simply with rice and eggs. Of course I put my own finishing touches, adding my usual Beni Shoga and Maui Takuan, along with Shoyu on da’ rice, and a sprinkling of chopped green onion for added color. Very pretty!
And? Oh. My. God. OMG! Dude, Hormel NAILED IT. I swear, this tastes EXACTLY as advertised! Cliche as this analogy goes, if Hormel SPAM and Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage had a baby, this would be the result. The spices are ON-POINT with Hawaii style Portuguese Sausage. It has just the right amount of Paprika, with just a hint of spicy heat, but not overbearing.
Above is the Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage stacked on top of the SPAM Portuguese Sausage, so I was going back and forth, nibbling one, then the other, chasing it with a glass of milk between bites, and I swear, I could barely tell the difference between the two. Amazing! I mean, yeah, SPAM is SPAM, no matter what, but the spices are so similar in flavor profile to Redondo’s Mild Portuguese Sausage, that there isn’t much to discern between the two.
Best of all, the TEXTURE is fantastic. Unlike the SPAM Teriyaki, that has this unpleasant mushiness to it, the SPAM Portuguese Sausage’s texture has a nice ‘n fibrous mouth feel to it, just like the original SPAM Classic and 25% Less Sodium flavors.
Like I said in my review of SPAM Tocino, no can of SPAM passed through my kitchen without becoming “Musubi-fied”, as has been done to SPAM Portuguese Sausage today. Which of course if you visit most gas stations in Hawaii, you’ll often find Portuguese Sausage Musubi being sold alongside the SPAM Musubi. So now with this hybrid flavor, we kill two pigs with one stone!
And? Winnahz! If I were to make another SPAM PS musubi, I would definitely add Beni Shoga and Takuan in there for added pizazz, but even in plain form, with just the rice and nori, as expected, the combination totally works. I really don’t think addition of Teriyaki sauce would be good with this flavor of SPAM, but hey, go knock yourself out and try it.
Again, and even more noticeable in Musubi form, the TEXTURE is one of its biggest virtues here. That, along with the incredible accuracy to Hawaii style Portuguese Sausage seasoning is what hits this new flavor out the grandstands.
Just keep in mind when you try this that it’s still SPAM. So don’t expect it be Portuguese Sausage in a can, because it’s not. They just happened to nail the flavor and texture to one of the islands most recognized brands.
Hormel, you gave Hawaii a winnah with the new Portuguese Sausage flavah! Mahalo!
What? All new Hormel SPAM® Portuguese Sausage seasoning
Where did you buy it and how much was it? Times Supermarket S. Beretania Street location (next to Safeway); $2.98 each (very limited supply as of this writing)
What else should we know about it? This flavor is made exclusively for the Hawaii market, and currently not available for retails sales anywhere else outside the islands.
Big shaka to: Strikingly accurate spices, overall flavor and texture to Hawaii’s own Redondo’s (mild) Portuguese Sausage, ’nuff said.
No shaka to: The usual health concerns regarding canned meat products
The Tasty Island rating: 5 SPAM Musubi
P.S. Times Supermarket Beretania photos:
P.P.S. Future Hormel SPAM® Hawaii honorary flavor suggestions:
Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Puerto Rican PASTELES! Suggested serving shown with the requisite Gandules Rice and Bacalau Salad. Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.
Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Korean KIM CHEE! Suggested serving shown as expected: Kim Chee Fried Rice! Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.
Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Flipino PORK ADOBO! Suggested serving shown with Pancit Filipino style noodles, as well as Bay Leaves (to the left) as indicator of the key flavoring ingredient. There also should be peppercorns shown in the final label design. Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.
Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Chinese CHARSIU! Suggested serving shown in the form of Charsiu Bao (steamed bun). Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.
Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Chinese LUP CHEONG! Suggested serving shown the classic way us locals eat Lup Cheong: with shoyu and rice! Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.
Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Hawaiian style PANIOLO SMOKED! Suggested serving shown with Poi, my boy. Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.
Finally for good measure, why not? Hawaii SPAM® Rainbow Shave Ice! LOL! Rough (‘n tough) rendering by Pomai.