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Usually food festivals are rather sophisticated affairs, dedicated to gourmet delights – for example, white truffle dishes of Italy or pairing the finest cheese with wines in France. Very nice, very cultured.

But sometimes, food appreciation takes a different, even – dare we say – more “lowbrow” form.

1. Spam Jam, Hawaii

Enter Hawaii’s truly unique Spam Jam festival.In the spiritual home of the long-lasting canned meat, the residents of Waikiki, Honolulu, celebrate that special blend of chopped pork shoulder, ham, salt and gelatinous stuff like it’s going out of fashion. 

You can forget garlands of flowers, tiki torches and hula dancing, this most bizarre of foodie festivals is dedicated to industrial quantities of the meat so popular here’s it’s called “The Hawaiian Steak.”

Hawaii’s residents are so  attached to Spam they consume seven million cans of the stuff each year. In fact, Spam is even sold in Hawaiian Burger King restaurants.So the annual Spam Jam festival, which took place on Kalakaua Avenue last week, is an homage to all things squidgy meat-related. 

More than 25,000 Spam fans turn up to this ham fiesta each year and gather, mostly, to eat the stuff. Oh, and get their pictures taken with people dressed up in giant furry Spam can costumes. When you’ve had your fill, there’s plenty more entertainment on offer, including live music and dance performances on the two main stages, plus all the Spam merchandise you can possibly imagine.

Throughout the festival there are even booths set up by volunteers to help collect donations of Spam for the Hawaii Food Bank. Local restaurants get involved, too, offering their own special twists on how to make the processed meat taste its best, such as ‘volcano Spam nachos’ and ‘Spam lettuce wraps’. Mmm, Spam.

For Spam fans, line up a Hawaiian holiday for Spam Jam 2014 on April 26. 

2. Ballcup, Serbia

Testicles, and a lot of them. Boiled, stewed, mashed, fried, any way you want them. At the three-day World Testical Cooking Championship in Serbia, between August 30 and September 1, there’s a camp for spectators and another for competitors. Recipes are shared, tested and on the final night there’s a grand feast prepared by the winning team. Not recommended for vegetarians … or the squeamish.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


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