Japanese fusion food is much more than a trendy restaurant fad. In fact, in Japan, many dishes have been created with a combination of east and west influences that remain a staple of Japanese cuisine. Wafu, the Japanese word for Japanese fusion, describes many of these dishes. One common wafu dish is wafu pasta. This is typically a standard plate of spaghetti that has a Japanese twist with its garnishment and spices.
The Introduction of Wafu Pasta
While Japanese cuisine consists of many types of Asian noodles, wafu pasta is also a popular dish at home and in restaurants. Italian spaghetti was first introduced to Japan during the late 1800s, which was known as the Meiji period of internationalization. It really gained in popularity during the post-war period and is now a common component of Japanese cuisine.
Wafu Pasta Dishes
While America’s most popular spaghetti dish might be spaghetti and meatballs, there really is no standard wafu pasta dish. For instance, there are literally hundreds of different recipes, as each family has their own preferences for ingredients.
Put simply, any Japanese ingredients that you might normally mix with rice are instead mixed with spaghetti. The results are umami-rich creations with unique but wonderful flavor profiles. In addition to the flavor, it’s often quite healthy as well since Japanese cuisine often utilizes fresh and healthy ingredients.
Some of the ingredients you might imagine adding to the spaghetti include Japanese mushrooms, shiso, uni (sea urchin), and spicy cod or pollock roe. In addition to those, you can even add bonito fish flakes, different types of seaweed, umeboshi, baby sardines, dried shrimp, a sauce made from soy sauce and butter, dashi broth, miso, and much more.
You don’t necessary have to use spaghetti for Wafu pasta either. You can use linguine or other types of Italian noodles as well. Consider some of these wafu pasta recipes the next time you want to try cooking up a delicious Japanese fusion dish!
Wafu Pasta with Bacon and Spinach
If you’re wary about going too deep into Japanese fusion, start with this simple yet tasty spaghetti dish that stays a bit closer to the Western territory. This pasta features bacon and spinach, Japanese shimeji mushrooms, and a sauce made with olive oil and soy sauce. Those ingredients are mostly familiar to the Westerners. Therefore, it’s a great introduction to wafu pasta.
Shio-Koji Salmon and Mushroom Pasta
Marinated salmon and a trio of Japanese mushrooms transform this spaghetti into a Japanese wafu pasta masterpiece of flavor. Garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and shiso round out the flavor profile with distinctive umami that will have you craving more.
Pork Shabu-Shabu Pasta Salad
Featuring pork belly, tomatoes, arugula, and topped off with an umami-rich sesame oil dressing, this amazing creation is a unique and amazing take on pasta salad and sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
Octopus and Eryngii Mushroom Japanese Pasta
This spaghetti dish features boiled octopus, eryngii mushrooms, garlic, chili pepper, sake, shiso, and soy sauce, among other seasonings. And the result is a beautiful wafu pasta with distinctive Japanese flavors.
Feel free to experiment with your own ingredients. You can easily come up with a favorite wafu pasta dish to enjoy with your family!