Any time I need to bring an appetizer to share at a holiday gathering, this is my go to. It is fast and so easy, and at the same time very delicious and impressive. My mom has been making this as part of our New Year’s Eve Chinese food feast since I was about 10 years old.

There are many variations of this recipe. The one my mom made while we were growing up was more of a sweet teriyaki flavor. My sister Brooke made this new version one Christmas after doing a little bit of research. It is now everyone’s favorite! We all loved Rumaki, but now we love it even more.

While Rumaki has ties to Japanese and Hawaiian culture it is mostly Americana. If you were to attend a cocktail party in the 1960’s Rumaki would most likely be there as an hor d’oeuvre. It first showed up in 1941 on the menu of the Don the Beachcomber restaurant in Palm Springs. Don Beach, the owner is known as the father of Tiki Culture. Rumaki is mentioned and seen on many TV shows, such as 2 episodes of Mad Men, Golden Girls, The Bob Newhart Show, Weeds and even Simpsons!

To make it make sure you have good, round toothpicks. Cut your pound of sliced bacon into thirds, then wrap two slices of water chestnuts and each strip of bacon. Secure each bundle with a toothpick.


This is an easy yet time consuming process. I grab anyone who is available to help. Even my younger boys are able to do this well. I just recommend talking to them about the importance of not touching their face etc. after handling the raw bacon. Also make sure they know to wash their hands before AND after.

Next, mix the 3 ingredients for the sauce. Pour evenly over all the pieces in a baking dish. Do your best to get it all over the toothpicks. I use a spoon to make sure each bundle gets enough.

Once they are baked they are SUPER hot. Move them to a plate, and let cool slightly before serving.


Sweet & Spicy Rumaki

Impressive, delicious and easy hor d’oeuvre that is great any time of year, but especially during the winter holidays.
5 from 2 votes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Japanese


  • toothpicks


  • 4 cans sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 pound bacon


  • ¼ cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Sriracha hot sauce or less, to taste.


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Cut bacon strips into thirds.
  • Open and drain water chestnuts. *Open one at a may not need all four.
  • Spray 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
  • Roll up two slices of water chestnuts in slice of bacon. Secure with toothpick with bacon ends on top.
  • Line up in pan as tightly as needed, keeping them in a single layer.
  • Mix together mayonnaise, sriracha and brown sugar to make sauce. Pour over rumaki using a spoon to make sure each piece is covered.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Keyword bacon, water chestnut