The SPAMERICAN! Tour's SPAM Food Truck Is SPAMifying The Nation — Will These Dishes Be On The Menu?
Even if you're not a SPAM fan, the canned meat product has become such a fixture of our culture zeitgeist that I doubt it will ever truly go out of style. And making that very point this summer, we have the SPAMERICAN! Tour, which will be making its way across the country with a SPAM food truck for several months as of yesterday. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure the presence of a SPAM food truck means we've reached peak SPAMification.
From now through the middle of July, the SPAMERICAN! Tour's SPAM food truck will be zig-zagging across the United States, stopping in 12 different cities as it goes. “We discovered love for the brand popping up all over the U.S., from diners in the Midwest serving SPAM and eggs, to trendy Manhattan hot spots featuring SPAM Musubi,” said Nicole L. Behne, Marketing Director, Grocery Products Division, in a press release. “With the SPAMERICAN! Tour, we have set out to share these delicious SPAM recipes with America and celebrate the chefs who serve them.”
At each stop along its meat-scented route, the truck will be bringing aboard local chefs and slinging the unique dishes they have created. There will be a few mainstays, too — options that are always available — including Coconut SPAM Spears with Spicy Pineapple Chutney, as created by Food Network personality and (it would seem) long-time SPAM fan Sunny Anderson.
The tour kicked off yesterday in LA — but alas, those of us in the Northeast will be missing out entirely: The closest it's coming to the Tri-State Area or New England are Philadelphia and Washington DC. I'll admit that I'm somewhat surprised it won't be stopping in, say, New York or Boston, but oh well. The Midwest will similarly have to go Spam truckless, as Chicago is the only city in the entire area at which it will be arriving. Head on over to the SPAMERICAN! Tour's official website to find out where else it will be heading.
The full menu for each stop hasn't yet been unveiled — but that's not stopping my brain from going off into all sorts of weird, SPAM-covered directions. What does each local chef have planned? Are they all dishes inspired by whatever type of food for which each city is known? I hope so, because the results could be spectacular. Here are the regionally specific dishes I'd like to see get the SPAM treatment — not necessarily to eat, but mostly just because I want to see what happens when you try to SPAMify them:
1. Los Angeles, CA: In-N-Out Animal-Style SPAMburger
OK, so yes, we already know that in LA, Sharon Wang of Sugar Bloom Bakery will be creating a Kimchi SPAM Musubi Croissant — but does anyone else think it would be remiss not to include an animal-style SPAMburger during a Southern California stop?
2. San Francisco, CA: SPAM Dumplings
Anything stuffed in a dumpling wrapper is a good idea as far as I'm concerned.
3. Denver, CO: SPAM Edibles
I have no idea how one would combine SPAM and legalized weed (grilled SPAM and cheese, maybe?), but I'm sure someone could figure it out.
4. San Antonio, TX: SPAM Tacos
If you want to go really nuts, you'll assemble the taco, then fry the whole thing. Just sayin'.
5. Tulsa, OK: Oklahoma Onion SPAMburger
The Internet tells me that “onion burgers” are a thing in Oklahoma, so let's add some SPAM to the mix and call it a day.
6. Atlanta, GA: SPAM and Peach Pie
Gross? Potentially. Unique? Undoubtedly.
7. Jacksonville, FL: Grilled SPAM with Mango and Pineapple Salsa
Another pick inspired by what the Internet tells me: "Floribbean" cuisine often incorporates fresh fruits like mango and pineapple, so let's keep it simple here and grill up our SPAM slab before topping it with fresh fruit salsa.
8. Nashville, TN: Barbecue SPAM
Everything tastes amazing when it's smothered in barbecue sauce.
9. Charlotte, NC: Barbecue SPAM, Take Two
From what I gather, North Carolina barbecue A) is different than everywhere else in the country, and B) changes depending on which part of the state you're in. Since Charlotte is in the Piedmont area, its barbecue is likely to be done in the Lexington style, with a ketchup, vinegar, and pepper-based sauce.
10. Washington, DC: Senate Bean Soup with SPAM
After some fierce debate, Washington City Paper's Young and Hungry column determined this soup, which I grew up calling bean with bacon soup, to be DC's signature dish. Swap out the bacon or ham for SPAM, and bam — there you go. Others might prefer to see a SPAM half-smoke, though, so the jury might still be out on this one.
11. Philadelphia, PA: Philly CheeseSPAM Sandwich
Like most of the cities on this list, Philly's food scene is much more than just one item. But, I mean… Philly CheeseSPAM. You kind of have to go that way, right?
12. Chicago, IL: SPAM Deep Dish Pizza
I've never been a huge deep dish fan — I prefer the thinner crusts of the Boston-style pizzas I grew up with and the New York/New Jersey ones I've spent my entire adult life eating — but hey, different strokes for different folks and all that.