No other country in the world has debased spaghetti as much as the Philippines. While Jollibee leads the pack of spaghetti Frankensteins with sugar and bright red hotdogs, Pancake House comes in a very close second with a semi-sweet sauce, processed cheese and a few unusual ingredients that you can find in the recipe below.
It’s ironic how Pancake House lives by the tagline, “Come Home to Real Food” when this spaghetti is as fake as your Greenhills Louis Vuitton. The good thing is, it’s good fake. While purists would argue that Pancake House’s spaghetti is some sort of half-assed bolognese, pomodoro or even American meatball spaghetti, I think it’s an entirely different beast that deserves to have its own name.
Sometimes, I’d be in a pasta conversation with seasoned chefs like Jeremy of Mr. Delicious. While he’d ramble about his food adventures in some complicated sounding place in the middle of Europe, he’d talk about proper pasta. Pretending to be sophisticated, I fabricate an agreeable nod and tell him that I’d love to try all that noodle he’s telling me about. In truth, I’m just waiting for him to leave. A few minutes later, I find myself in an orange room filled with movie posters and a plate of this spaghetti down my throat. I’ve won.
Authentic spaghetti: 0. Scumbag spaghetti: 1.
Pancake House Spaghetti
Total Time: 90 minutes / Yield: 3 servings
- 1/2 kg ground beef
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/4 cup minced garlic
- 1 kg tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cumin, or less
- 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 1 liter water, or more
- Heat pan over medium flame, and sauté garlic oil for 3 minutes.
- Add in ground beef and sauté for 7-9 minutes.
- Add in tomato sauce, tomato paste, seasonings and water. Boil for 1 hour.
- Mix and check water every 10 minutes.
- Season to taste and serve on top of cooked spaghetti noodles.
- Serve with grated cheese on top.