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15-Minute Napolitan Spaghetti - A Japanese Invention

Updated on September 30, 2014
Napolitan Spaghetti
Napolitan Spaghetti
  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 5 min
  • Ready in: 10 min
  • Yields: 2

When I was a kid, my mother used to often make me spaghetti and it was one of those dishes that I kept requesting over and over again. I think most kids have a fondness for pasta, especially the simple kind. In America, macaroni and cheese, or spaghetti and meatballs seem to be a hit with the younger set.

When you ask most kids in Japan what kind of pasta they want, they'd usually say it's Napolitan Spaghetti. Yes, I purposely spelled it the way it's pronounced in Japanese because you most likely won't find it anywhere else outside of Japan, or restaurants serving old-fashioned, Japanized Western food, or what we call Yoshoku.

Some of my other favorites are Chicken Rice, which is sort of like the rice version of Napolitan. Both Chicken Rice and Napolitan pair well with Croquettes.

*Photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.

Yoshoku: Contemporary Japanese
Yoshoku: Contemporary Japanese

The Japanese love adopting foreign things into their culture and this includes food. Yoshoku, or Japanese-style Western cuisine is a favorite of many and enjoyed throughout Japan.

Recipes include all the yoshoku favorites such as Hayashi Rice and OmuRice. The Japanese cheesecake is a must-try!



The ingredients are probably going to sound strange to most Westerners, but it's really not as bad as it sounds, in fact it's deliciously satisfying if you ask me. The greatest thing about Napolitan is that it's super easy to make.

So what exactly is Napolitan? Inspired by the military rations of the American soldiers, which was spaghetti mixed with ketchup, the dish was created by the general chef of the Hotel New Grand in Yokohama sometime after The Second World War.

It's perfect for when you're out of your favorite spaghetti sauce because all you need is some ketchup, bacon ( ham or sausage can be used ), some onions and a package of spaghetti noodles. For a more substantial meal, add a fried egg on top! And to make it easier to clean up afterwards, I use a frying pan from start to finish. Now how cool is that?

What to do with leftover rice? Check out my Chicken Rice recipe here. Japanese croquettes are perfect to pair with your pasta or rice dish. My croquette recipe can be found here.


  • 4 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 slices bacon, ham or sausage, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 8 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large frying pan, bring water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil.
  2. Cook spaghetti according to directions.
  3. Drain spaghetti in a colander.
  4. Heat some oil in the frying pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Cook the bacon and onions until onions are translucent.
  6. Add drained pasta and ketchup and cook for 1 more minute.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a dash of tabasco if desired.
Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo
Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo

Follow the adventures of an American family that attempts to eat their way through Tokyo. Their food journeys are exciting and often humorous, which includes a ride on the bullet train.

Written in a light-hearted way that is engaging yet informative.


What Did You Think?

Cast your vote for Spaghetti Napolitan

Have you ever heard of Napolitan before? Are you a fan of Japanese food culture? Please let me know you dropped by and say hi!

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    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Jerzimom thanks for reading!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Nancy Hardin this one tastes just as good as it looks. I guarantee it!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      paperfacets It is a great camping dish. Thanks for commenting!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      RoadMonkey, definitely try it. Very easy to make and comforting.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      Hadn't heard of this before. Sounds like something my grandchildren would enjoy. Must try it.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      My husband will really love this one. I'm sure I will, too!

    • profile image

      carlene-ford-5 3 years ago

      I will be trying this recipe. Looks very tasty and quick and simple. Yum

    • profile image

      Ibidii 3 years ago

      Awesome Smine27, My Dad would take the leftover spaghetti from the night before and stir fry it in a cast iron pan. When it was nearly done he would make a well and add an egg or two. Let it solidify and then flip it over. He did not eat bacon or sausage. It was really good. The other thing he did would be to take a well scrubbed russet potato and use the vegetable peeler and peel the potato into the pan with warming vegetable oil, he loved that cast iron pan. He would peel the entire potato that way. He would add some diced onion and slowly cook it like you would do hash browns. Then before he flipped it over he would add a couple of eggs that were broken and lightly mixed. Then when the eggs were starting to set he would flip the whole thing over like you see the chefs pick up the pan and flip the contents into the air above the pan. He was so good at it. It was a rare treat for us on Saturday or Sunday mornings. He did most of the cooking the last 10 years of his life. I have a lens about his famous Potato salad. Oh and on top of the spaghetti and the potatoes he would add a generous amount of Ketchup - Del Monte ketchup was his favorite. Great lens and I love this recipe!

    • ComfortsOfHome profile image

      ComfortsOfHome 3 years ago

      I'd never thought about the influence of the post-WW2 American soldiers' rations on Japanese cuisine - interesting! But then, when food and history come together, there is always something new and interesting to discover. Thank you for sharing this one.

    • Minoru10 profile image

      Michael Yoshinaka 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      Looks good and I would like to try it someday.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Hi there! Nope, I have not heard of this recipe before. I am a fan of some Japanese foods, but I don't think I will be giving this a try. :-)

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 3 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

      Never quite heard of spaghetti this way before. I'll have to try it. I'd probably use hamburger or use veggie burger. Nice and simple recipe tho! Nice!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I'd never heard of it, but it sure sounds good to me. Simple and easy to make gets me every time, but it also has to taste good, and this sure sounds like I'd love it. What's not to like about bacon, ketchup and noodles? :-D

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 3 years ago from La Verne, CA

      What a good lunch suggestion. You know what? It is also a good camping suggestion too.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Merrci: Aww thanks Merrci. You can also replace half the ketchup with tomato sauce for a lighter taste.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      I hadn't heard of it, but I bet kids love it! And with an egg on top! I'm not crazy about ketchup, but i bet it is good this way! Lovely photo too! Fun recipe!