Asian American Chefs Are Embracing Spam. But How Did the Canned Meat Make Its Way Into Their Cultures?

From a food truck peddling Hawaiian-Korean fusion dishes in Seattle to an underground Japanese speakeasy in D.C. to a Korean barbecue restaurant that focuses on home cooking in New York City, one ingredient is surprisingly constant: Spam.

In recent years, a growing number of Asian American and Pacific Islander chefs are working against anti-Spam stigma to bring the meat to the American fine-dining scene. But how did the pink block of meat, a product of American industrialization, make its way into these Asian cuisines in the first place?