After my first post on Filipino spaghetti, I was pretty satisfied with myself and didn’t really have a desire to make drastic changes to my methods. But during my appearance on Kababayan LA last week, I told host Jannelle So that I had Martin PureFoods red hot dogs in hand and was ready to make a more “authentic” version of Filipino spaghetti. Over the weekend, I dropped by Island Pacific Market in Union City and picked up two more items—a bottle of Jufran banana sauce (ketchup, really) and a blue can of Kraft Cheddar “Cheese” (or as a reader called it…”Krap Chis”)—to complete the Holy Trinity of Filipino Spaghetti.
UPDATE: Check out my Filipino Spaghetti 2.0 post for another version of this dish)
Filipinos love spaghetti…so much so that it’s a staple at fast-food restaurants in the Philippines, including American franchises like KFC and Wendy’s. The Philippines biggest fast-food chain, Jollibee, offers burgers, fried chicken and spaghetti under one roof, and lucky for me, there’s a bunch of them here in California.
Filipino spaghetti is sweeter than a traditional Italian spaghetti, usually from the addition of sugar or banana ketchup to the sauce. It’s other defining characteristic is hot dogs, which sounds weird to non-Pinoys, but it acts as a salty counterpoint to the sweet sauce. (I always knew there was a reason I was partial to Spaghetti O’s with Sliced Franks when I was a kid.)
I generally freestyle my spaghetti, but I always start with a plain sauce (like canned Hunt’s or Del Monte) to use as a base since other ingredients are going to be added. A friend who makes her own excellent version of Filipino spaghetti swears by Prego. I prefer using sugar as a sweetener instead of banana ketchup since it’s something I always have on hand.