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
  • leaves from 1 large bunch of Swiss chard
  • 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 T toasted sesame oil
  • 2 T 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

more korean (ish) deliciousness

This shiitake dun dan (Asian steamed egg with mushrooms), is soft and silky, perfect with a heaping bowl of rice on the side. #mushrooms #dundan #steamedegg #vegetarian

shiitake dun dan (similar to gyeran jjim)

This kimchi cucumber naengmyeon is fresh and crunchy, with plenty of cold summer produce to offset the slightly spicy sauce.

kimchi cucumber naengmyeon

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

44 Replies to “Spam Kimbap”

  1. How fun is this!? Kimbap is new to me, and I’m fascinated. But I agree, I am not so sure about american cheese in this application 🙂

    1. hahah yeah and i can confirm that the american cheese is even less enticing when the kimbap has been sitting out for a few hours, and it’s not hot and it’s not cold and it’s some weird in between.

  2. Look good, Heather! Yeah, the American cheese …. a thumbs down (but then again, I have my biases against cheese.. lol) I’ve never made kimbap before, but always wanted to try making a bulgogi one — will have to do it sometime! Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

    1. tbh, the bulgogi ones are the best! (better than spam even, haha). the spam ones are just easier (; but if you find pre-marinated bulgogi in a korean supermarket near you, that definitely makes it easier too!

  3. 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.

  4. You are always introducing me to new dishes and new flavors!! This looks so yummy 🙂 xoxo

    1. thanks, kelly!! (:

  5. I can’t lie, spam freaks me out. BUT you have encouraged me to try making my own sushi!! Your rolls are gorgeous!

    1. hahaha you don’t have to use spam! (though once you pan-fry it, it’s really tasty). you can leave it out or sub in whatever protein you’d like (:

  6. I’m not a spam fan, but these rolls look so perfect and you have inspired me to make sushis at home. I would totally be a rockstar with the kiddos:)

    1. it’s more work, but you should look up the sushi that has shapes inside! i’m probably not explaining it very well, but i made one that looks like a car on the inside of the spam (i tried looking up “sushi that looks like a car,” and that wasn’t helpful at all. sigh) when i was a kid. they’re really cool looking (and got everyone in my class who didn’t want to eat it to try it out!).

  7. Ummmmmm, HOLY SMOKES those all look SO delicious!!!!!! No joke!!! –

    1. My mom has been making me these since I was a kid. Spinach egg spam/ bulgogi carrot and the danmuji.

      1. what a lucky kid you must have been! i used to have to trade with my friends at school to get my kimbap fix (;

  8. So pretty! Not sure about the Spam, but I would LOVE the shiitake mushroom version!

    1. you can sub in shiitakes for the spam! that would be super tasty (:

  9. Haha… I agree that some things should not be shared with people on the Internet. I hope that your retreat was fun despite the cramped space. Kimbap does look like a maki sushi roll so I can see how they are related. It looks really tasty!

    1. oh, the retreat was lots of fun (; and very memorable! kimbap looks so much like sushi, but i feel like the filings are the main differentiation. that being said, i feel like one evolved from the other (; it must have!

  10. I have never tried spam before. I always think of it as being post WWII food 🙂

    1. oh, it is! i feel like there a few korean dishes which show how they were affected by the war + american influences, especially budae jiggae. it’s a kimchi stew, with ham/spam/sausages/baked beans, and it’s still popular today!

  11. 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 (:

  12. I’ve never tried kimbap but I love sushi so I’ll definitely love this dish, too. Excellent combination of ingredients for a yummy dish. 😉

    1. i’m sure you will! i think a lot of people are turned off by the seaweed, so since you already love sushi, you’re golden (;

  13. Oh man I could eat danmuji by the bucket load I love dem pickles! Never had spam before – meat in a can? (in sushi or kimbap of any kind) but you have actually kind of made me want to try it.
    And I am tickled with curiosity at what went on at your retreat now haha but there are some things that should remain off the internet haha

    1. YES GIVE ME ALL THE DANMUJI (i got korean fried chicken last weekend with a friend and you can bet i hoarded that stuff). spam is an interesting experience (; if you like (or at least are open to the idea of) processed meat, you’ll probably like it. and hahaha there are some things that one of my friends wished we never remembered/never brought up again (but because we are nice, we bug them about it all the time lol).

  14. I have NEVER had spam before in my life!!! hahahahaha! I am not even sure what is REALLLYYYY is! 😉

    1. lol i’m pretty sure no one knows what it really is (;

  15. I didn’t know, something similar to sushi existed too! This Kimbap does involve a bit of work in prepping all those filling ingredients..But every bit worth it!

    1. it’s not a quick recipe, that’s for sure (; which makes it even more impressive that one of my childhood friend’s moms would wake up super early to make this fresh for her a few times a week!!!

  16. Hope you had fun on the retreat! Oh man, I would feel claustrophobic if I had to share a place with a bunch of people! Weird, but I’ve never had kimbap before even though I go to Korean supermarkets and restaurants all the time. They look delicious though! OK, I need to make it a goal to try it out on of these days. I like how you can use a lot of ingredients to make something tasty!

    1. ahhhh you’ll have to try it at the korean markets/restaurants! i personally feel like it’s more worth at supermarkets, because it’s cheaper and still really fresh and tasty.

  17. I’ve never made my own sushi or kimbap, so this is helpful! Love that you have lots of veggies packed in there!

    1. oooh, you’ll have to try making sushi and/or kimbap someday! yeah, i love all the veggies in kimbap too (: sushi is great but sometimes i find myself wishing there were more veggies in them lol.

  18. 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.

  19. This looks amazing, Heather! I love sushi and definitely agree that kimbap is similar. I was so disappointed in myself because I went to Hawaii last year and didn’t try spam once! Now’s my chance with your amazingly simple dish. 🙂 I have to admit though. I’m a huge fan of American cheese. Should I try this with some American cheese rolled in? Haha maybe not. Either way, I’m so excited to try this!

    1. ahhh what?! you’ll have to try spam now that you’re home (; it should be pretty easy to find. and you can use american cheese here- i’m biased anyways and am not a huge fan of american cheese to begin with.

  20. I am so addicted to spam right now. Been on a lazy streak and been doing spam and fried egg with rice a lot but will definitely be doing this to switch it up. Have you had the spam that’s garlic flavour? Those are awesome! I recently also found terriaki and a spicy szechuan (ma-la) one too that I haven’t tried yet…It’s so exciting because I always only see the original flavours when I buy these little guys! haha

    1. it’s so hard to beat spam fried rice though!! OOOH i haven’t had the garlic spam- i do love garlic, but somehow it was kind of scary to me idk. will have to pick that one up next time. and ma la flavored spam?!?! i haven’t even seen that one in stores!

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