MANILA -- Amid the sheer amount of sushi bakes available online, this home-based cook is offering something similar but different.
It was in mid-2019 when Haydee Kua launched Deedee’s Kitchen. Spam was -- and continues to be -- her ingredient of choice — as she started selling variants of Hawaiian snack-favorite Spam musubi.
“Ever since I was younger, I've always wanted to create my own food-related business. The menu of Deedee's Kitchen was created from late night dry runs in our own kitchen at home. I would ask my siblings what flavor is lacking and which points to improve on,” Kua said in an online interview.
Kua still serves two kinds of Spam musubi -- the "Original" with teriyaki sauce and sticky rice; and the "Kimchi" also with teriyaki sauce but with punchy kimchi dried rice. Both variants also have the option of adding Japanese mayo and scrambled egg to the stacks — whicht this author highly recommends.
“After a while, given the long lockdown, I was able to spot a common idea in the market! This then gave me the idea to incorporate my own crispy Spam and sauce with my dishes,” Kua said.
The common idea was the suddenly trendy sushi bake, which Kua translated into a 3-Cheese Spam Bake.
What is a Spam Bake? For Kua, it means caramelized Spam, three types of cheeses (mozzarella, cream cheese, and cheddar), a silky draping of her cream cheese secret sauce over expensive but healthy black rice. Then the tray is baked to melt the cheeses, and to eat — like most sushi bakes — a portion is scooped up and eaten with a piece of nori.
Kua soaks her grains overnight before cooking to achieve that sticky sushi-rice-like texture in the Spam Bake. Her black rice was nutty and sweet and held its own to the salty punches of the cheeses and the Spam. It also made for less guilty eating (especially if you discount the Spam and the cheeses) as black rice has various health benefits, including being rich in antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients.
Priced at P980 for a tray that can serve four to five people, the price is steep compared to most sushi bakes or Spam bakes in the market but Kua stands by the product and the pricing.
“Being a previous customer of online shops myself, I know I'd want to maximize my money and receive exactly what I pay for. So, a value I'd always uphold in my online shop is to never compromise quality and provide great customer service,” Kua explained.
Deedee’s Kitchen can be found online on Facebook and Instagram. Prices for the Spam musubis start at P155 for three pieces, and are available in servings of three and six pieces.