Originally from Italy, “spaghetti” made its way to Japan in the 1960s as a home dish and is now incorporated into many people’s regular menus. This article introduces 5 types of spaghetti unique to Japan.
1. Wafu (Japanese-style) Spaghetti
First on the list would be Wafu Spaghetti, a well-loved dish that uses healthy ingredients and has a light flavor. This spaghetti makes use of soy sauce and broth as its base, with shimeji mushrooms, tuna, mountain vegetables, grated radish, mustard greens, and other ingredients on the side. You may also commonly find this dish topped with seaweed or chopped leeks.
Napolitan spaghetti, with its sweet aroma, has been well-loved by Japanese since their childhood. This spaghetti is stir-fried along with onion, green bell peppers, mushrooms, sausage, ham, bacon, and ketchup. The noodles are not al dente, but are instead known for their softness after being boiled. This dish traces its roots to the spaghetti served during 1945 to 1955 at "Hotel New Grand" located in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture.
3. Tarako (Cod Roe) Spaghetti
Tarako Spaghetti, which uses cod roe, is known for its mild taste. This dish is composed of raw cod roe, butter, salt, and squeezed lemon juice as its sauce, along with boiled noodles. You will typically find this dish topped with shredded seaweed or perilla leaves. Depending on the restaurant, you might enjoy this dish with whipped cream or mayonnaise as the sauce, or have it along with spicy pollock roe instead of cod.
This dish was created around 1967 by a popular spaghetti restaurant in Tokyo called “Kabe no Ana”. A musician, who was a regular, requested for spaghetti with caviar. The flavor of this dish was a hit, but the caviar was replaced with cod roe to make it more affordable.
4. Ankake Spaghetti
Ankake Spaghetti originated in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, and is known for its thick sauce made with slowly simmered beef and vegetables. A lot of pepper is also added, which results in its spiciness. The diameter of the noodles used is 2.2mm. The typical toppings used would be meat, vegetables, fried seafood such as shrimp, and sunny side-up eggs.
5. Natto (Fermented Soybean) Spaghetti
This type of spaghetti makes use of natto (fermented soybeans), which has been a staple dish in Japanese cuisine since the olden times. The natto is served either whole or finely sliced, then flavored with soy sauce or broth. The noodles are boiled and topped with seaweed, leek, or perilla leaves. Another way to enjoy this dish would be by adding okra or mountain yams, along with other "stringy" ingredients, as well as egg yolk, grated radish, and "tarako", which was introduced earlier. It may be difficult to get used to the fermented odor at first, but you will surely come to like the rich taste! Natto is also known for being extremely nutritional.
Most of the dishes introduced in this article can be found in specialty stores, cafes, restaurants, and convenience stores. It may be an interesting idea to try them out at different places to compare!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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