Spam Kimbap

The inside of this spam kimbap looks like a kaleidoscope, with pickled radish, spinach, carrots, eggs and Spam. #spam #kimbap #korean #sushi

last weekend, spent at a retreat for my business + technology club, was full of firsts. some of those firsts are probably best left unsaid, in that hush hush what happens here stays here manner. (there were interesting bits that i felt compelled to share with friends not there, however). others included driving in san diego (surprisingly unfun and parking was a bear) and stuffing too many people into a house. a bunch of us slept on the ground, but there were enough chair/couch cushions to keep us from being too uncomfy (different uncomfortable, but anyways).

this wasn’t my first time making sushi, but it was my first time making spam kimbap, and i loved it.

in case you don’t know, kimbap is kind of like the korean version of sushi. (i had a friend who would would vehemently disagree that kimbap and sushi were similar in any sort of way, but it seems reasonable to me that the two could be historically linked). it’s filled with a mix of raw, cooked and pickled veggies, and can be customized protein-wise. for this spam kimbap, i’ve used scrambled eggs and pan-fried spam, but i’ve also had it with bulgogi (LOVE) and american cheese (this is gross. i’m also not a fan of american cheese in general).

1 year ago: roasted brussels sprouts with kimchi and ginger, maple persimmon upside down cake
2 years ago: winter panzanella with roasted vegetables, huckleberry’s chocolate chunk muffins
3 years ago: easy stovetop macaroni, peas, bacon, and cheese a la jamie oliver (college edition), chocolate meringue cake with whipped cream and raspberries
4 years ago: nanaimo bars, basic scones

The set-up for making spam kimbap: a pot of rice, a sheet of seaweed on top of a sushi rolling mat, some sesame seeds, and allllll the fillings. #spam #kimbap #korean #sushi

Spam Kimbap
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
This Spam kimbap (aka Korean sushi with Spam and tons of vegetables) does require a fair amount of prep work, but it's so colorful and flavorful that it's well worth it.
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: brown rice, carrots, chard, dairy-free, danmuji, eggs, kimbap, nut-free, pickles, radishes, seaweed, sesame oil, spam, swiss chard
Servings: 5 rolls
Calories: 305 kcal
  • 1 can Spam cut into 5 slices crosswise
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard leaves only
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into very long/semi-thick matchsticks
  • 1/2 danmuji yellow pickled radish, sliced into 5 pieces lengthwise
  • 3 cups rice cooked
  • 5 full sheets seaweed
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  1. Pan-fry the Spam in a large non-stick pan over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Drain on a paper towel lined plate, then slice into matchsticks. Pour off most of the fat from the pan.
  2. Beat the eggs until homogenous. In the same pan over medium-low heat, add the eggs. Use a rubber spatula to move the eggs around a bit (and help them cook faster), making sure that the eggs cover the bottom of the pan once you're done stirring. Cook until almost set on top, then flip and cook until the other side sets. Don't worry if you can flip it pretty; you can't tell once you roll it all up and slice the kimbap. Transfer the eggs to a cutting board, and slice into strips similar in width to the Spam's width.
  3. In the same pan over medium heat, add a bit of oil (or the Spam fat), and saute the chard until it's wilted.
  4. Place a bamboo sushi rolling mat on a large, flat surface. Place a piece of plastic wrap slightly larger than the mat on top of the rolling mat. Grab a small dish of water, and gather all of your ingredients near your rolling mat.
  5. Place a piece of seaweed, matte side up/visible, on the plastic wrap. Cover most of the surface of the seaweed (leave a few inches at the edge farthest from you rice-free) with a thin, even layer of rice, using your fingers to help spread it out. If the rice sticks to your fingers, dunk them in the bowl of water before proceeding.
  6. Create a pile of the different fillings near the edge closest to you. You want a strip that runs along the width of the seaweed (ie if the carrots are shorter than that, add a few more matchsticks to the carrot-less parts of the kimbap) of each ingredient.
  7. Squeezing firmly and starting from the side closest to you, gently roll the kimbap up using the mat and plastic wrap as a guide. Make sure that you don't roll the mat or plastic into the kimbap.
  8. Set the roll seam side down on a plate. If the roll doesn't seem to want to stick to itself, run a damp fingertip along the edge of the plain seaweed to help it stick. Repeat the assembly/rolling process with the remaining ingredients. You can make the kimbap a few hours ahead: wrap the rolls in plastic wrap at this stage and store in a cool, dry place (do not refrigerate).
  9. Brush a small amount of sesame oil over each roll, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Using a sharp, large knife, cut off the ends of the kimbap to make it neat, then slice and serve.
Recipe Notes

The aim when you're prepping the ingredients is to get them roughly the same width (different lengths is inevitable and fine). Not necessary, but it makes it easier and faster to assemble the kimbap.

You can sub in bulgogi or sauteed shiitake mushrooms or any protein really for the Spam. (You may have leftover Spam). Other possible subs/additions: beet greens, spinach, fish cake, imitation crab, cucumber, etc.

This Spam kimbap is already delicious from all the tasty vegetables, eggs and Spam inside of it, but it's made even better by brushing the outside with sesame oil and sprinkling sesame seeds on top. #spam #kimbap #korean #sushi

Spam kimbap, the cousin of Japanese sushi, is really tasty as a lunch or appetizer. #spam #kimbap #korean #sushi

6 Replies to “Spam Kimbap”

  1. I’ve always wanted to make sushi, er, kimbap I mean. This looks and sounds wonderful! I have to admit I’m not a spam fan, but I always tell people that when they don’t like something they just haven’t had it prepared well. So in this case I would indeed try the spam. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. you can definitely leave out or sub the spam! i’ve seen vegetarian and vegan kimbaps before, or you can use grilled chicken, grilled bulgogi, etc.

  2. As you know I don’t eat meat but I can still appreicate a well made sushi roll from afar.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. can definitely be done without the meat (and the eggs, too, if you so wish!). it’s kind of like a salad- as long as you hit crunchy, tender, salty, pickly, spicy, whatever you’re craving, it’ll be delicious (:

  3. This looks so good! I haven’t had kimbap in such a long time…I’ve always wanted to make some on my own — how did you get these to hold together?

    1. oooh you’ll have to make them then! (or just find a nice korean supermarket and drop $5 (; both work!). as for getting them to hold together- i dab a bit of water around the edge, and then let the rolls sit seam side down while i assemble the rest.

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