SEOUL » As the Lunar New Year holiday approaches, Seoul’s increasingly well-heeled residents are scouring store shelves for tastefully wrapped boxes of culinary specialties. Among their favorite choices: imported wines, choice cuts of beef, rare herbal teas. And Spam.
Yes, Spam. In the United States the gelatinous meat product in the familiar blue and yellow cans has held a place as thrifty pantry staple, culinary joke and kitschy fare for hipsters without ever losing its low-rent reputation. In Hawaii it is a dietary staple.
But in economically vibrant South Korea, the pink bricks of pork shoulder and ham have taken on a bit of glamour as they have worked their way into people’s affections.
"Here Spam is a classy gift you can give to people you care about during the holiday," said Im So-ra, a saleswoman at the high-end Lotte Department Store in downtown Seoul who proudly displayed stylish boxes with cans of Spam nestled inside. [emphasis added]
Which means… I’m done with my Christmas shopping for 2014!!