First, you need to know that this is seen as a kid’s food. Adults aren’t meant to eat this. Usually, this is served to kids at parties or as part of a kids menu. It fills the cultural hole that Kraft Mac & Cheese fills in the US, though. Meant for kids, but really adults still secretly love it and don’t mind eating it from time to time for nostalgia’s sake. Usually, if you see this at a party, though, it’s meant as the kid food and adults are meant to eat whatever else there is.
Second, Filipinos LOVE telling you how they like their spaghetti sweet. SO sweet! The sweetest of the sweet! They will wait for you to take a bite and watch the whole time for your reaction, and then ask you over and over if it’s too sweet for you, laughing all the while.
But I’m going to tell you something. Right here, right now, straight up facts.
It’s no sweeter than Ragu or Prego.
It is definitely different. Don’t get me wrong. It’s usually made with just hotdogs for the meat in the sauce, though the recipe I’m linking to includes pork and beef as well. And there are none of the Italian spices. In fact, I was once at a workshop about simple things you can grow in your garden to boost your family’s nutrition levels and the presenter was talking about basil and mentioned that Americans and Italians put basil in their spaghetti sauce. Totally blew everyone’s minds. I had to assure them that it really was true. And oregano. Shocking, I know. Many people substitute at least some of the tomato sauce with banana ketchup. Banana ketchup is just what it sounds like, ketchup made from bananas. They dye it red, so it looks close to tomato ketchup, but it’s generally brighter. Tomato ketchup is fairly common, but in some restos, if you ask for ketchup and don’t specify, they will bring you banana ketchup. The good news is that you can usually find banana ketchup on the International aisle of a normal grocery store, so this is an easy recipe to put together if you don’t have access to a specialty market.
And, honestly? I really like Filipino spaghetti. It’s its own thing. Just don’t expect marinara, and you’ll enjoy it for what it is.
Fun fact: This particular website was the first one I ever tried a recipe from when we first moved here. The number of food blogs has exploded over the years, and there are so many more options now. But be sure to click through and see what other recipes one of the early pages has on offer!