Spam Soup

I never thought I’d be so excited about spam soup. Truth is though, I look forward to spam soup day all week.

It’s one of the few soups I can eat, given my allergies, and the only one of those I actually like. Every day at lunch, the food is the same. There are small variations, but by and large, it’s a bowl of soup (typically soy and anchovy based) a bowl of rice, and a selection of three or four side dishes. Meat, fish, eggs or vegetables, and kimchi.

Sometimes the side dishes are delicious. 돈까스 (donkas), or as they call it in Japan, とんかつ (tonkatsu) which is a breaded and baked or fried meat cutlet, typically pork, is wonderful. I’ve come to love kimchi, even though I wasn’t a fan at first. I was skeptical of squid jerky, but it’s pretty good. It helps that it shows up on the same days as spam soup.

Apparently, spam soup has its origins during the American Korean war, when American soldiers brought their rations (things they were familiar with, like spam and tinned sausages) to Korea. Koreans didn’t have any idea how to cook this strange square and circular meat, so they did what they do with just about all food: they made soup out of it.

To be completely honest, until a couple of weeks ago, I don’t think I’d ever eaten spam, just heard the stories. And the silly song my Dad sung from time to time when I was a kid. I might not like it cooked any other way, but I sure like it in Korean soup.


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