If you’ve ever shopped in a Japanese grocery store or browsed for Japanese recipes, chances are you’ve come across the term wafuu (和風) pasta. Wafuu literally means “Japanese style”, so wafuu pasta is pasta that is suited to the Japanese taste, usually because of the flavors in the sauce.
Ever since the post-war period in Japan, after Japan opened itself up to to more globalization, Italian style pasta was really popular in Japan. After a while, some time in the 1970s, people began to experiment by adding Japanese flavors, flavors that would typically be mixed with rice or Japanese-style noodles.
When it comes to wafuu pasta, there are many different varieties you can try; you can also make your own concoction based on your favorite Japanese flavors. Common wafuu pasta flavors and add-ins include umeboshi plum, ponzu, mushrooms, seaweed, and even natto. You can make many different wafuu pasta from scratch, but if you want some pre-made Japanese-style sauces, you’re in luck! There are many types of packaged wafuu pasta sauce like umeboshi and avocado, but two of the most popular ones have to be mentaiko (明太子) and tarako (たらこ).
Mentaiko and tarako seem to be two of the most popular types of wafuu pasta. Tarako is cod roe, while mentaiko is spicy cod roe. These delicious, very Japanese ingredients are creamy enough that, if you’re making your sauce from scratch, all you need is a little butter to give it the perfect sauce texture.
When you make any kind of wafuu pasta, you’ll want to boil your spaghetti in some salted water; the Japanese way would be to cook your noodles just past al denté, but if you don’t like the texture it tastes just as good al denté. Cook your sauce however you like then toss it together with your cooked noodles. If you’re using a pre-packaged sauce, just stir it all together after you’ve drained your noodles. Many packaged sauces come with a topping packet as well, which you can just sprinkle on top of your pasta. If you’re making your own sauce, though, you can add your own toppings. A common topping for wafuu pasta is kizami nori (きざみのり), or shredded seaweed in English.
If you want to try your hand at making some of this delicious Japanese-Italian fusion or if you want to buy some pre-made wafuu pasta sauce, we have what you need at Asahi. Come by to grab some or you can ask our staff to help you find the best Japanese flavors to use for your wafuu pasta.
Have you ever tried wafuu pasta? Got a favorite flavor? What’s your favorite way to add some Japanese flair to your traditionally non-Japanese dishes? Tell us all about it in the comments!
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