aaron2

Filipino vs. USA: Spaghetti

NEW articles daily! Subscribe below to receive daily updates with our new articles!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

“I want Spaghetti and Meatballs for my birthday!” I exclaimed to my mother when asked what I wanted for dinner. When I was a young’un my favorite food to eat was Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs.

As my palate developed Spaghetti and Meatballs grew old to me and I would order Fettucine Alfredo with grilled chicken strips, sweet green peas, and mushrooms when at Americanized Italian restaurants. As an adult, I had pretty much-crossed spaghetti of my list of foods I eat until I met and married a Filipina. No one in my family is from Italy and my understanding is that what passes for Italian food in the USA would not be authentic in Italy. Filipinos like Americans have changed Italian spaghetti but in different ways. This article compares Filipinoizied vs Americanized spaghetti in three categories: appearance, taste and nutritional value.

How to Move to the Philippines Manual

Appearance

The appearance of USA Spaghetti for me is bland and brown. The sauce is brown. The meatballs are brown. The appearance is boring. Filipinos Spaghetti has brown sauce, orange bits of something (carrots?), yellow cheese and bright red hotdogs. The word that comes to my mind is Fiesta. The appearance category is a slam dunk win for Filipino Spaghetti!

Taste

As I said at the beginning of the article, I once loved the taste of USA Spaghetti! I didn’t eat much spaghetti as an adult. When I travel to the Philippines I encountered Filipino Spaghetti and I realized it tasted different, but for me, I did not find it overly sweet as I have heard others complain about. I enjoy Filipino Spaghetti because it is the one Filipino dish that does not involve rice. I like rice, but I also enjoy variety.

My wife learned from living in the USA how to prepare USA Spaghetti and Meatballs. She does a good job with both USA and Filipino styles. She has asked our boys and me which we prefer. My boys prefer the taste of USA Spaghetti and I diplomatically decline to comment on which I prefer. As a result my wife kind of makes Filipino-American Spaghetti. It has some of the sweetness of Filipino Spaghetti, but she serves it with meatballs, not hot dogs. The general consensus I get from people who have honestly tried both styles is that USA Spaghetti is better tasting!

Nutritional Value

This category may seem to be obvious on the surface of it when looked at from a non-Filipino point of view, but I think there is a reason and I could be wrong about why Filipinos added sugar and hotdogs to Spaghetti. In the USA adding sugar to food automatically seems to constitute making the food less healthy, but think about conditions in a place like the Philippine.

In the USA people have no problem affording more calories of food than they need, but in the Philippines, many people have need of every calorie they can get. Adding sugar is a cheap way of increasing the number of life-maintaining calories in food. Protein is also in short supply in the diets of Filipinos, so adding cheap hotdogs is a way to provide low-cost protein. In more developed countries these modifications don’t seem to make sense, but at least historically I think they made sense for Filipinos. If a person is in the middle of the desert with only a box full of Moon Pies and a 6-pack of RC Cola the person will live longer eating the Moon Pies and drinking the RC Cola than if they choose to abstain from eating junk food. This does not make Moon Pies and RC Cola health foods just better than nothing. This is my theory and I could be completely wrong, but I have not seen a more logical reason for the Filipino modifications to Spaghetti. All this being said I suspect most of the people reading this article get plenty of calories and protein in their diet and so USA Spaghetti wins again!

Conclusion

I grew up in the Southern USA drinking Southern-style Tea with 2 cups of sugar to the gallon. Perhaps this is why I am not terribly put off by sweet Filipino Spaghetti. I loved Spaghetti the way Mom made it and I love the way my wife makes Filipino-American Spaghetti! Both the USA and the Philippines have changed Italian Spaghetti to suit the majority of their respective populations. Variety is the spice of life. I choose to share my thoughts and opinions on Spaghetti and would love to read the thoughts and opinions of the readers. Feel free to weigh in on this crucial topic in the comments below.

Jay Stainback

Jay Stainback lives in Raleigh, NC, USA and is hoping/planning to retire to Bohol in about 10 years. He is married to his beautiful Filipina wife Juliet whom he met on-line. They were married 12/7/02 and have two boys’ ages 9 years old and 5 years old. Jay has visited the Philippines 4 times the first time 1 week, the 2nd time 2 weeks, the 3rd time for 3 weeks, the 4th time 4 weeks spending most of their time in Bohol.

Most Shared Posts

80 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mark Kuivenhoven
Mark Kuivenhoven
4 years ago

This is my favorite subject food. I fix it just add some hot sauce

Jay
Jay
4 years ago

Hi Mark,

I like hot sauce on most anything! Haven’t tried it on spaghetti. Thanks for the suggestion!

Peace

Jay

Michael Heavrin
4 years ago

To me, its kinda like chef boyardee. its bland, a bit sweet, but with added glow in the dark hot dogs.

Jay Stainback
4 years ago

Hi Michael, CheF Boyardee…now that’s Italian! Peace, Jay Stainback

David Benkendorf
4 years ago

If my wife makes it, I have a hard time controlling myself 🙂

Jay Stainback
4 years ago

Hi David, Is it hard to control yourself in a good way or a bad way? Peace, Jay Stainback

David Benkendorf
4 years ago

I love the stuff and have to try not to eat too much

Jay
Jay
4 years ago

Hi David,

Thanks for clarifying! I enjoy Spaghetti Filipino or USA as a break from food with rice! I like rice, but every night gets a little old.

Peace

Jay

Steve Ballantyne
Steve Ballantyne
4 years ago

Won’t eat red hot dogs, but regular ones are available. It’s been so long since I’ve had American that I’d have to try it a few times to remember it. All in all, give me Filipino style with regular hot dogs!

Jay
Jay
4 years ago

Hi Steve,

Glad you enjoy Filipino Spaghetti. I prefer meatballs over hot dogs, but I prefer hot dogs over no added meat at all. Thanks for commenting!

Peace

Jay

gcl65
gcl65
4 years ago

The hotdogs kills it for me. I wont eat it or I wont eat the hot dogs.

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  gcl65

Hi gcl65,

I guess just pick them out and give them to someone else unless the hot dogs hurt the flavor of the spaghetti then boycott Filipino Spaghetti. That would leave more for someone else. I don’t mind the hot dogs personally, but I would rather have meatballs. Thanks for commenting!

Peace

Jay

Paul Blackburn
4 years ago

I grew up eating American spaghetti, but the sauce was red not brown. Spaghetti sauce has sugar in it. I avoid all pasta now due to high carb content. I prefer eating fish and seafood there.

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Blackburn

Yeah, I was also wondering about that brown sauce. I have always seen red sauce on US spaghetti. Maybe it is a regional thing?

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Martin

Hi Bob,

I think the brown comes from the beef in the sauce. The sauce is brownish red or reddish brown depending on how you want to look at it. Just like today is Valentine’s Day or Ash Wednesday depending on how you think about things. I was using writers license to emphasize the boring look of the USA version. Thanks for putting my sweet article out on Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day Eve for me here in the USA!

Peace

Jay

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Jay

LOL

William
William
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Martin

Reminds me of a video of Rex Navarette explaining his view of Filipino spaghetti and it’s origins:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UO05J-pPjG8

But for me living here, I don’t mind so much, even Jollibee and McDonalds I find ok.

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  William

Hi William.

I enjoyed watching the Rex Navarette video. Thanks for sharing it in the comment section!

Peace

Jay

Trevor Hari
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Blackburn

Bob Martin The brown sauce maybe HP sauce. I love it but I do not put it on my spagetti.

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  Trevor Hari

Hi Trevor,

What is HP sauce? Please educate me. Thanks for commenting!

Peace

Jay

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Blackburn

Yeah, the article talks about spaghetti sauce (in America) being brown. I just had never seen that. I am aware of HP but had not thought of it being used on spaghetti.

Marjorie Bonser
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Blackburn

I have sometimes used a splash of Worcester Sauce in Bolognese But the sauce was still red. Never used HP.

Rob Ashley
Rob Ashley
4 years ago

Jay: I love your “Survival Food” pic. Cola and Moonpies. When I was a kid I thought Pez was one of the 6 food groups. And yes, those red hot dogs are scary. -Rob

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Ashley

Hi Rob, My dad grew up on a tobacco farm harvesting tobacco by hand and plowing the field behind a mule. I grew up in the suburb, but my aunt farmed our tobacco field and I did work on the farm a little… as little as I could actually. That being said I know a lot of farming has been done powered by Moon Pies, RC Cola, Nabs, Vienna Sausages, potted meat and saltines. If you want to see more pictures of Moon Pies and RC Cola just google search images that is what I did. The only time I… Read more »

Norm King
Norm King
4 years ago

I feel sorry for you if you think Philippino style spagetti and meatballs taste resonable. I grew up refusing to eat my mothers spagetti often being banished to my room. Until one day I was invited to stay for dinner at a friends place and I inquired what was for dinner and the answer was spagetti. I tried to make excuses to take my leave and go home. This was not successful and I stayed for dinner. The first mouthful of the spagetti was a real shock it tasted so nice. I made such a noise about how great it… Read more »

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  Norm King

Hi Norm,

Different people have different tastes of what is good to eat. Thanks for sharing yours and your experience!

Peace

Jay

Mark LaBelle
4 years ago

don’t get me going ha ha 🙂 I can eat Pinoy spagehetti, but with the red hot dogs, super sweet sauce and a jar of mayo thrown in (yes mayo) its in a completely different category flavor wise than in amerika

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark LaBelle

Different category… good or bad?

Mark LaBelle
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark LaBelle

matter of taste,,, Pinoy version is edible but not as good in my opinion,, way too sweet, prefer savory for spagehtti

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark LaBelle

Mark LaBelle Indeed.

Jay Stainback
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark LaBelle

Hi Mark, I have never had spaghetti with Mayo. I have always enjoyed cheese on spaghetti. I see a lot of people here in the USA putting Ranch dressing on pizza. Haven’t tried it. It looks strange to me. IDK. To each their own. Peace, Jay

Mark LaBelle
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark LaBelle

Jay, the mayo I have seen in pinoy spagehtti was a jar of it dumped directly into the sauce while it was being prepared,, not used as a condiment 🙂 also the heavy on the red dye number 3 hotdogs freak me out a bit,, but are quite edible

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark LaBelle

Hi Mark,

Thanks for clarifying! I often am blissfully unaware of what is put in my food. This may again be a case of Filipino cuisine/ taste being similar to Southerners. We eat a lot of Mayo. Have you eaten banana and Mayo sandwiches. They are not uncommon in the South.

Peace

Jay

Wally Barr
4 years ago

You got low carb version that tastes good?

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Wally Barr

I didn’t write the article, nor do I eat spaghetti (Filipino or American), because of the carbs. LOL

Wally Barr
4 years ago
Reply to  Wally Barr

Some have suggested speghetti squash and tomato sauce with a sweetener..

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Wally Barr

Tomatoes are relatively high in carbs. I make Zoodles – noodles made with zucchini, and they are pretty good.

Jay Stainback
4 years ago
Reply to  Wally Barr

Hi Wally, I don’t know of low carb spaghetti, but thanks for commenting! Peace, Jay Stainback

SIGN UP TO JOIN OUR GIVEAWAYS & INFO NEWSLETTER

Make sure you've signed up to our newsletter to get exclusive newsletter only content! Also be updated about all our important events and other important info that our readers rely on.

SIGNUP FORM


Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.