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A James Beard Award Winner Shows Off His Take On SPAM Fried Rice

When you think SPAM®️, perhaps visions of tasty meals from Hawaii, the Philippines, and other island cuisines come to mind. Musubis and SPAM®️ with eggs and rice, in particular, are some of the fare that stand out as favorites.

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While this tends to be the norm for the canned meat, James Beard Award winner Abe Conlon and his partner, Adrienne Lo, are showing just how versatile and delicious SPAM®️ can be.

Photo courtesy of Fat Rice

Conlon’s Chicago-based restaurant, Fat Rice, specializes in food native to the island of Macau, which involves a fusion between Portuguese and Chinese flavors. As Conlon puts it, “the immense popularity of this product in Hawaii, Japan, and the Philippines directly correlates to our restaurant’s focus on global Portuguese cuisine.”

While the restaurant hasn’t put the meat on the menu in the past, he created a unique take on SPAM®️ fried rice as a part of SPAM®️ Restaurant Month.

For Conlon, it’s a tasty and elevated way to bring what he describes as a “major food innovation” to life. “It’s ‘meat in a can,’ no refrigeration required,” he said. “It’s kinda an amazing invention! That’s the way I feel about it.”

Fat Rice’s first-ever incorporation of SPAM®️ is a play on textures, flavors, and colors. You get the caramelization and crispiness of SPAM®️ Classic, a hit of crunch from puffed rice, creaminess from Japanese Kewpie mayo, sweetness and acidity from pineapple, and a salty afternote from slivers of dried nori.

“Our SPAM®️ Fried Rice really was about the Hawaiian/Japanese influence,” Conlon said. “It was such a harmonious thing, it just made sense.”

This innovative take on a humble dish is definitely worth checking out. I mean, when else are you going to see a James Beard-caliber chef work their magic with an ingredient like SPAM®️?

You can find the fried rice on Fat rice’s menu for the entirety of August for SPAM®️ Restaurant Month.

By Constantine Spyrou

Constantine's life revolves around eating, studying, and talking about food. He's obsessed with eggs, gyros, and the future of food.