8 Must-Try Spaghetti Dishes From Around The World

The thin noodle we love slurping up so much takes on some pretty delicious forms across the globe.

If you mention spaghetti, there's a good chance you're probably picturing a mound of thin noodles topped with red sauce and meatballs. But one of the best things about pasta is that a simple dish can take on so many different forms. This thin slurpable noodle has some pretty delicious variations across the world, all of them a reflection of local cuisines and interpretations of the classic Italian dish through another country's eyes.

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These eight global variations on spaghetti are delicious takes on a comforting dish, and are well worth seeking out when you're looking for a new dinner idea that doesn't come straight from the jar.

Naporitan, Japan

The Japanese take on Italian food is an interesting look into the way one culture interprets food from another. Take naporitan, for example, which is a dish that takes spaghetti noodles and tosses them with any combination of ketchup, bell peppers, mushrooms, sausage, bacon, onions, and bacon. Yes, you read that correctly, ketchup. It's a sweeter take on spaghetti that's accented by savory ingredients that turns the noodles into a one-plate meal.

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Kheema spaghetti, South Asia

Kheema is a seasoned minced meat dish originating in South Asia. It starts with a ground meat of your preference, which is then seasoned with onion, ginger, garlic, spices (like cumin, coriander, or garam masala, though recipes vary), and sometimes tomatoes are added. You can see why many households add this mixture to spaghetti. Though it might give off echoes of Italian bolognese, it's served much drier and spicier.

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Filipino spaghetti, Philippines

Filipino spaghetti is notorious for one particular flavor: its sweetness. Oh yeah, it's got hot dogs in it too. The reason why this ground beef, hot dog, and tomato pasta is so sweet is because it employs the use of banana ketchup or sugar. The sugariness of it can be polarizing for people who are trying it for the first time, but after a few bites, it's easy to see why the dish is so beloved. If you've got a Jollibee near you, you should go try someā€”it's a staple item on the chain's menu.

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Tallarines verdes, Peru

Tallarines verdes is green because of an ingredient that's closely associated with pasta: pesto. This Peruvian take on spaghetti was originally inspired by Italian immigrants to the South American country. It gets its verdant quality from not only basil, but the addition of spinach in its sauce. It's also incorporated with ingredients like queso fresco or cotija, and walnuts. Tallarines verdes are also often served with steak on top, which results in a really hearty meat and pasta dish.

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Jollof spaghetti, West Africa

Jollof rice is a dish that's beloved in West Africa (it originated in Senegal, but is extremely popular in neighboring countries like Nigeria and Ghana), and its spicy tomato base naturally translates into a sauce that's right at home on spaghetti noodles. The mixture is seasoned with onions, bell pepper, scotch bonnet peppers, and curry powder, and makes a great alternative to the rice version as a side dish or a quick weeknight dinner.

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Makaronia me kima, Greece

Makaronia me kima is a Greek version of spaghetti bolognese, tweaked for the Greek palate. It contains the usual tomato base, but is seasoned with additional spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, and cloves. If that combination sounds familiar, this spice profile shows up in pastitsio, lasagna's Greek cousin, which uses ziti noodles instead of the long flat wavy ones. It also explains why Cincinnati-style chili has the same spice profile; the chili comes from Greek immigrants.

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Espagueti verde

Espagueti verde is a Mexican pasta dish that uses spaghetti noodles as a vehicle for a poblano pepper-based sauce. The green sauce is also creamy, made so with the addition of crema or sour cream. Sometimes cilantro can be added for additional flavor, but the real star is the mild poblano, which imparts a gentle bitter flavor to the spaghetti without being too spicy, if at all.

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Cincinnati chili spaghetti, U.S.A.

Cincinnati chili is a uniquely spiced version of the meaty dish we love, with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. It's thinner than most of its counterparts, which is why it functions well as a sauce on spaghetti noodles. At chili parlors in Cincinnati, you can order it a bevy of ways, like a "three way," which involves spaghetti noodles, chili, and a huge mound of shredded cheddar. It's a divisive dish, but everyone should try it at least once.

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