It’s no surprise to anyone in Hawaii that local residents like their spam, rice, eggs and root beer. Well, according this article in the New Zealand-based Stuff, so do Okinawans.
In Okinawa, large square “onigiri” stuffed with Spam and egg, or hamburger and cheese nestle next to smaller traditional triangular versions filled with salted salmon or pickled plum.
Markets selling products from pig’s feet to colourful fresh fish also display rows of canned Spam processed meat – which can be purchased as souvenirs at shops frequented by tourists.
The tradition started when American troops, who were stationed in Okinawa during World War II, introduced their “emergency aid” food to the island residents.
And, as many Hawaii residents can relate, the food might taste good, but it does come with consequences:
Decades of an Americanised diet, Okinawa health officials say, is partly responsible for making islanders fatter, more prone to heart disease and likely to die sooner than either their elders or compatriots in many parts of the mainland.
The trend comes as a blow to a prefecture long home to one of the highest percentages of centenarians in the world.