Why do Filipino spaghetti use hot dogs

Filipino Spaghetti - Filipino spaghetti

Filipino adaptation of Spaghetti Bolognese

Filipino spaghetti is a Filipino adaptation of Italian spaghetti with Bolognese sauce. It has a decidedly sweet sauce, usually made from tomato sauce that is sweetened with brown sugar or banana ketchup. It is usually topped with sliced ​​hot dogs or smoked longganisa sausages, giniling (ground beef), and grated cheese. It is considered home cooking in Filipino cuisine. It is usually served on almost any special occasion, especially children's birthdays.


The dish is believed to date from between the 1940s and 1960s. During the American Commonwealth of Nations, a shortage of tomato supplies during World War II forced the local development of banana ketchup. Spaghetti with Bolognese sauce was introduced by the Americans and adapted to the local Filipino taste for sweet dishes.


Filipino spaghetti with giniling and grated cheese
Filipino spaghetti with hot dog pieces.

Filipino spaghetti is relatively cheap and easy to make, which is one reason for its popularity. First, chopped garlic and onions are sautéed in oil in a large pan until they caramelize. The giniling (ground beef) is added and cooked until brown. The sliced ​​hot dogs are then added, although other processed meats like smoked longganisa sausages, ham, wieners, meatballs, lunch meat, spam, or corned beef can be substituted for them. It is cooked for a few more minutes before the tomato sauce and tomato paste mixture is poured into the pan. Beef broth, mushroom soup, or condensed milk can also be added. This is sweetened with some banana ketchup or brown sugar and seasoned with salt and black pepper to taste. Other common sweeteners include condensed milk, syrup, or even carbonated soft drinks. It is cooked until it is reduced to the right consistency. Some people use store-bought spaghetti sauce as a base for convenience, which in the Philippines may already be sold in Filipino flavors.

The spaghetti noodles are almost always bought in the store. They are usually cooked to an al dente consistency. They can be added directly to the sauce and premixed, or a large amount of sauce can be poured over them separately. Grated or diced cheese (usually cheddar) is added before serving, although the cheese is sometimes poured into the sauce or melted over the pasta.

Other ingredients that can be added to the sauce are finely chopped red and green peppers and carrots.

Cultural significance

The Filipino version is often viewed with concern by Italian spaghetti purists. However, it has great cultural significance for Filipinos as a home cooked meal. It's almost always served on special occasions, especially children's birthday parties. Hence, most Filipinos have a nostalgic predilection for the dish.

Filipino spaghetti is a unique offering from fast food chains in the Philippines. Among other things, it is part of the regular menu of the Filipino branches of Jollibee, McDonald's and KFC.

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