Yesterday we celebrated the birth of our great nation, and there's no better followup than to commemorate the birthday of SPAM, one of America's most exemplary food inventions. Sure, SPAM is kind of a mystery, a quivering pink block of meat in a can, but the processed meat — SPiced hAM, to be precise — has stood in for more noble cuts on our breakfast plates and in sandwiches for decades. Help SPAM blow out eighty candles today with a fried slab of deliciousness at these five Denver eateries.
Aloha Hawaiian BBQ
8623 Washington Street, Thornton
SPAM is all but the state dish of Hawaii, and even though you can sample more traditional Hawaiian fare at Aloha in Thornton, a meal wouldn't be complete without an order of SPAM musubi: bricks of sticky rice capped with glazed SPAM and wrapped tight in nori seaweed. This is Pacific comfort food at its finest.
218 South Broadway
Tiki is kitsch culture to begin with, so SPAM fits right in on Adrift's menu of Singapore Slings, pupu platters and Scorpion Bowls. The Waimea Bay burger gets the SPAM treatment in the form of two char-grilled slabs topped with tangy-sweet pineapple chutney.
Ohana Island Kitchen
2563 15th Street
What's the best topping for pork? More pork, of course. That's the way it's done at this Hawaiian joint in LoHi, where you can tack on a teriyaki-glazed rectangle of SPAM to your order of kalua pork. Sweet, salty and savory mingle happily atop this hearty mound of shredded pork and sticky rice.
2611 Walnut Street
If the idea of eating a processed meat that's shaped exactly like the can it comes in makes you shudder, Osaka Ramen has an alternative that will still let you enjoy the cured-pork flavor without the associated industrial-food baggage. This ramen joint makes its own version of SPAM from scratch and then uses it to decorate triangles of onigiri — essentially a more elegant version of musubi dusted with togarashi.
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2353 South Havana Street, Aurora
True to its name, Tofu House specializes in tofu, a custardy version of which is tucked into a dozen or so stews, mingling with oysters and clams plus mushrooms, kimchi, dumplings or pork. For a salty surprise, order the SPAM tofu stew, quite possibly the only time you'll get the chance to indulge in shellfish and canned meat in the same spoonful. Warning: The combination of soybean curd and SPAM in the same dish will surely make vegetarian heads explode.