Pasta is loved by people worldwide including the Japanese. While we are familiar with certain styles of pasta such as aglio olio and Bolognese, Japanese has created many of their very own versions of pasta dishes. The general term for these Japanese renditions of foreign food is known as wafu (和風) or Japanese style. Therefore, Japanese versions of pasta, it is known as wafu pasta (和風パスタ). These are some of the popular wafu pasta dishes which you should definitely try when you’re in Japan.
This is the most popular Japanese pasta dish. It was created by Irie Shigetada who was the general chef at Hotel New Grand in Yokohama. He was inspired by the recipe of mixing tomato ketchup with spaghetti for military rations. Being a tomato-based this, the Napolitan Pasta seems very similar to spaghetti, but the difference is that Napolitan Pasta uses tomato-based sauce in place of ketchup. The Napolitan Pasta is often topped with sausage and peppers.
Mentaiko Pasta features a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine, which, for those who are unfamiliar with the name, is cod or pollock roe. When used to create the sauce for the pasta, the mentaiko would be mixed with mayonnaise or butter to form a creamy sauce. Some olive oil is also added to the pasta. Mentaiko pasta is usually topped with tiny strips of nori.
Shiso, or perilla leaf in English, is a type of leaf belonging to the mint family and it has a refreshing flavor. It is often used in Asian cuisine. As for ume, these are Japanese salted plums or Japanese pickled plums. Ume has a salty and sour taste. Other ingredients that are usually added to the ume shiso pasta are shimeji mushrooms, chicken meat, and olive oil.
Aside from trying out traditional Japanese food in Japan, you should also try out some of these pasta styles which are uniquely Japanese! They taste delicious and some of them are not easy to recreate at home since some ingredients can be hard to find in other countries. Therefore, you should not miss the chance to try wafu pasta in Japan!