Not too long ago, I would find myself off track and try something else, just out of curiosity. But I consider myself very loyal, if not completely faithful. There’s nothing wrong with the other stuff really, but Spam has this distinct flavor that’s hard to replicate; every discerning fan can tell.
In many Filipino households, Spam is as much a part of breakfast as tapa and sinangag; of lunch as much as adobo and sinigang; and of dinner as much as bistek, mechado and caldereta. It is everyone’s quick fix when in need of something delicious and filling but there’s no time to put together a complicated dish. Spam is great as ulam and as palaman, which makes it a staple in the lunch boxes of many Pinoys.
Gone are the days when the best place to get Spam were the balikbayan box our relatives would send on Christmas or px goods stores. Spam is currently sold in 40 countries worldwide, and the Philippines ranks third on the list of top Spam consumers, following the United States and South Korea.
When someone asks you if you’re a Spam fan, you go to a Spam event and prove that you deserve to be called as such. This is exactly what I did. Although it seems that it needs no further introduction, Spam recently launched the SPAM CAN! campaign with series of activities at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati.
“The SPAM CAN! campaign is all about what Spam can do in showing the Filipinos the versatility and convenience of Spam. Taking it from mealtime boredom to enjoying local Pinoy recipes, we’re so excited to be here for this campaign. Because really it’s the first time we’ve talked to consumers. It’s because of the Filipinos’ love for Spam that we’re here,” says Jaynee Sherman, senior brand manager for Spam.
During the event, free samples of Spam Lumpia, Spam Puto, Caramelized Spam with Rice, and Spam Fries and Chips were available. What’s a Spam fan like me to do in a situation as such? Yes, I tried them all and went through the rest of the day with a happy tummy.
There was even the Make a Hero SPAMWICH station where, for 100 pesos, you could choose your own ingredients to customize your own Spam sandwich. The money raised from the sandwich station was matched by Spam and donated to Children’s Hour. This partnership complements Spam’s philosophy—to fight hunger and malnutrition of people of all ages.
This global addiction to Spam started in WWII, and the story, according to Sherman, goes like this: “America sent Spam to the GI’s that were based all around the world. The GI’s were eating Spam in their mess tents, but they were also sharing it with the locals because they didn’t have protein or even an ample source of food. And that is really how Spam was first introduced to the world.”
Did you know that you could make tokwa’t baboy and sisig with Spam? To prove that Spam can be used for a variety of dishes, Chef Sharwin Tee, host of Lifestyle Network’s “Curiosity Got the Chef,” conducted cooking demos during the event. There was a sandwich making contest which was joined by media personalities as well as celebrity mom Andi Manzano, and judged by Chef Sharwin himself.
Chef Sharwin admits he grew up with Spam and enjoys using it as an ingredient for some dishes. “I like Spam because you can be playful with it. You get to play around with how you cut it, the way you cook it,” he shares.
His favorite Spam creation is something he calls The Garden of Good and Evil, which is a cheese oatmeal dish with caramelized Spam and pickled onions. “It reminds me of my breakfast when I was a kid—oats, cheese and Spam.”
Aside from having cooking demos, contests, free samples, a CAN-aoke and a DP You Think You Can SPAM dance booth, Spam also launched its TV commercial featuring ALL4SPAM, a boyband out to promote what Spam can do. I found this rather baffling, to be honest. I was happy with the samples and would never tire of having my Spam and eggs at home.
The reason for having the boyband, according to Sherman, is simply because “Spam can.”