Four pieces of musubi sit on a white plate

Hawaii Wildfire Relief Resources & Spam Musubi Recipe

We've compiled a list of reputable resources for you to donate to and share

At the beginning of August, huge wildfires burned over swaths of land in the western part of the island of Maui.

The fires, which were especially destructive in the coastal town of Lahaina and the surrounding areas, have been confirmed by the Hawaiian government to have caused over 100 fatalities. As of August 20, the wildfires are all now at least 85% contained by local firefighting officials, though residents who evacuated their homes during the blaze still cannot reenter affected disaster areas.

Though the rebuilding process will take years, one of the most useful things people in the continental United States can do is to donate money to reputable organizations providing relief and assistance in Hawaii.

Last week, the Office of the Governor of Hawaii released a list of recommended relief organizations. They are:

As of this time, state and local officials highly recommend monetary donations over physical donations, as many relief organizations are now at capacity of physical goods. If you plan on donating, also make sure to reference this guide from the Governor's office on how to avoid scammers and make sure your money goes to the people who need it.

Lahaina was the original capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority's website. The town, in West Maui, the second largest island in the state, is a popular tourist destination. The Hawaii Tourism Authority says that out-of-state tourism is the "largest single source of private capital" for Hawaii's economy, and the tourism expenditures in the state boomed in 2021 and 2022 as COVID-19 travel restrictions eased. It's important to note, however, that many native Hawaiians have taken to social media to ask tourists to reconsider their trips in order to preserve the island's natural resources and wildlife.

Hawaii is also the home of a distinctive popular cuisine. As one of the most iconic Hawaiian grindz, Spam musubi is a great place to start as it’s easy to make, uses inexpensive ingredients and is deeply delicious.

Want to try more than just Spam on your musubi? ICE LA's Lead Chef of Culinary Arts Eric Rowse prepared four different types of musubi (including versions with and without Spam) to honor and celebrate the beloved Hawaiian dish.

Chef Rowse used the traditional Spam in two versions of his musubi (one with scrambled egg and one without) along with a fried chicken katsu version and a seared Portuguese sausage version. Each savory protein sits on top of a fluffy rectangle of rice and is delicately wrapped with sushi nori, in classic musubi fashion.

A piece of chicken katsu musubi on a brown wooden board is topped with sliced green onions

Musubi is a unique Hawaiian creation created by Barbara Funamara, a Japanese-American woman who lived in Hawaii, according to Time Magazine. Japanese cuisine's influence on her creation is evident both in musubi's construction and flavor profile, especially when compared to onigiri, a handheld rice ball dish common in Japan. Both onigiri and musubi are filled with savory fillings and wrapped in nori to be eaten as a delicious on-the-go snack.

Though Chef Rowse's musubi variations are delicious, a culture can never be defined through just one dish. This recipe pays homage to the people of Hawaii and fully owes its inspiration to native Hawaiian cuisine and the aloha spirit. Watch the video of how he makes it below.

Give musubi a try with the recipe below (it's easier than you think) and, if you are able, donate money to a relief fund to help Hawaii rebuild. Maui Nō Ka ʻOi.


Musubi Four Ways


  • 1 can Spam
  • 1 Portuguese sausage
  • Canola or other high-heat cooking oil
  • 1 or 2 eggs, cracked and beaten
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup mirin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cooked sushi rice (seasoned with rice vinegar and sugar while still hot)
  • Nori sheets
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish

For the Chicken Katsu:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs, cracked and beaten
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound chicken thigh or breast, cut into musubi-sized pieces


  1. Open the can of Spam and cut the meat into about 7 slices. Cut the Portuguese sausage on the bias in similar-sized pieces.
  2. In a medium frying pan over medium heat, use the canola oil to sauté the Spam and sausage until they begin to brown and crisp.
  3. Prepare the scrambled egg patty: Pour the beaten egg mixture into a small sauté pan over medium-low heat and cook until the eggs just come together and cook through. Using the musubi press mold (if you have one), or using a knife, cut the egg patty into musubi-shaped pieces.
  4. Prepare the chicken katsu: On flat plates or bowls, prepare the flour, egg mixture and breadcrumbs for dredging. Sprinkle each piece of chicken with salt and pepper, and then dredge in flour, egg and then breadcrumbs. Set aside until you have multiple pieces prepared and ready to fry. Once you do, heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and place each piece in one at a time to fry until golden and crispy, about 5 to 6 minutes, flipping as needed.
  5. Make the unagi sauce: In a sauté pan, combine soy sauce, mirin and sugar over medium heat. Stir to combine and cook for until the sauce comes together and begins to thicken, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring as needed.
  6. Once unagi sauce is done, add Spam pieces to unagi sauce mixture to absorb the sauce, cooking over low heat for 2 minutes or so until the Spam is shiny and thoroughly coated.
  7. When all of the proteins are ready, place about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of rice in the musubi press and press down with the top plunger piece. Gently top with egg and then Spam or just with a singular piece of any protein, drizzle with unagi sauce as desired and press with the plunger to form into the musubi mold. Carefully remove the mold and wrap each piece with nori to finish. Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired, and enjoy.


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