Waikiki: Come for the beaches, stay for the Spam

Spam Jam 2023 kicks off with a block party on Kalakaua Avenue

Fast Facts about SPAM

Long before spam was the bane of phone calls and email, Spam was feeding soldiers during World War II. Now, it’s the focus of one of Hawaii’s top annual festivals.

Spam Jam kicks off April 29 in Waikiki with the Kalakaua Avenue block party. There will be three entertainment stages, 20 restaurants serving Spam dishes, unique Island crafters, Spam goods for sale and more, according to the website.

After that and through May 14, the festival switches to a “restaurant week” format, with select Waikiki restaurants offering SPAM dishes on their menu.

Duke’s Waikiki, for example, will be serving candied Spam Hula Pie, Korean Spam Street Tacos and Teriyaki Spam Katsu Sandwiches.

Or head over to Ko Tiki Terrace for Spam Jam Mary Cocktail, Spam and Kimchee Ahi Poke, Spam and Crab Cake Loco Moco or Spam and Ube Ice Cream — yes, ice cream.

What is Spam?

Hormel Foods introduced Spam in 1937 as a lunch meat. According to the brand’s website, the origins of name have long been a subject of speculation. One popular belief is it derived from the words ‘spiced ham.’ The real answer is known by only a small circle of former Hormel Foods executives. The brother of Hormel’s vice president at the time actually won $100 for coming up with the name.

Classic Spam is made of just six ingredients: pork, salt, water, potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrite. There are now 10 varieties of the canned meat, ranging from hot and spicy to teriyaki to oven roasted turkey.

What to do in Waikiki

Waikiki is famous for its beaches and its surfing. Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku — also known as “The Duke” and “The Big Kahuna” — is considered the father of surfing and learned all he knew near Waikiki. You can check out the Duke Kahanamoku Statue on Waikīkī Beach; it has become an iconic symbol of Waikīkī and its surf culture.

Known in Hawaiian as “spouting waters,”the neighborhood was once a playground for Hawaiian royalty. Now you’ll find world-class shopping, dining, entertainment, activities and resorts along the main strip of Kalākaua Avenue, where the Spam Jam block party will take place.

The Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium are perfect for a family excursion, gohawaii.com recommends, or drive half an hour and check out Pearl Harbor, ʻIolani Palace, the Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout, and Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, a marine life conservation district.

Where to stay

As an official partner of Spam Jam 2023, Outrigger Resorts and Hotels is offering a discount for festival attendees. Using the promo code SPAMJAM, you can book your stay at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger, Waikiki Malia by Outrigger, OHANA Waikiki East by Outrigger with this link.