How a “Killer” Pasta Dish is Taking Japan by Storm

How a “Killer” Pasta Dish is Taking Japan by Storm

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Pasta bolognese
Picture: ツルカメデザイン / PIXTA(ピクスタ)
"Assassin's Pasta" has been a favorite dish of Italy's Bari for decades. Now, thanks to one chef, it's taking off big in Japan as well.

Pasta dishes have long enjoyed popularity in Japan. But recently, a new dish has generated buzz on social media – and is even getting news time.

So-called yoshoku (洋食), or Western-style food, has enjoyed a place in everyday Japanese cuisine since the country’s Meiji period. Japan is even host to some dishes – such as the popular cheese and rice dish Doria – that are homemade creations.

Pasta took root in Japan during the Bakumatsu (the end of the Shogun’s reign) in areas of the country where foreigners resided. However, it didn’t take off among the local populace for another couple of decades. Macaroni was more popular than spaghetti during Japan’s Meiji period.

In 1928, Nihon Seima sold the country’s first commercial spaghetti, Volcano. Naporitan, a spaghetti dish made with tomato sauce or ketchup, green peppers, and bacon, appeared in the early 1900s and gained more popularity post-war. Naporitan remains the second-most popular pasta dish for cooking at home, with meat bolognese occupying the top position.

Killer Pasta

Picture:  kikisorasido / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

But now a new challenger has entered the arena.

Assassin’s pasta (Italian: Spaghetti all’Assassina) is a regional dish from Italian city of Bari in Puglia (incidentally, also the birthplace of focaccia). The recipe dates back to the 1970s, though which restaurant originated it remains a source of controversy.

Its arrival in Japan is thanks to one chef Marco Macri. Macri is a popular YouTuber with about 250K followers. He also lived in Japan for three years and makes most of his videos in Japanese. (His channel name is @kyo.nani.tabeyoo, or “what are we eating today?”).


One of Macri’s recent videos popularized Assassin’s Pasta, known in Japan through its literal translation of 暗殺者のパスタ (ansatsusha no pasuta). It’s garnered two million videos since he posted in a month ago.

【おこげパスタ】今イタリアでめちゃめちゃ流行ってるパスタ知ってる!?【Spaghetti all’Assassina】

皆さん、こんにちは! 今回は今イタリアで流行中のSpaghetti all’Assassinaをご紹介しようと思います! これはイタリアはプーリア州発祥のパスタで日本語に訳すと暗殺者のパスタになります。 フライパンに直接乾燥のままのスパゲッティを入れておこげを作りながら茹でるのが特徴なので私はおこげパスタと名付けました! 比較的手に入りやすい食材でとっても面白い作り方なのでぜひ皆さん一度試してみてください! なぜ今回鉄のフライパンを使用しているかというとおこげがつけやすいからです。 今回使用したフライパンはこちら 島本製作所 フライパン 32㎝ [IH対応] 鉄 味一鉄 底厚 日本製 32㎝と大きいのはスパゲッティを折らずに入れたかったからです。 大き目のフライパンであれば鉄でなくてもこのサイズでなくても、(おこげは同じようにつくかはわかりませんが)できると思います。 ▶使用材料 スパゲッティ120g 水 1.2L パッサータ(トマトピューレ) 100g トマトペースト 50g 塩 5g EVオリーブオイル 30g にんにく 1片 唐辛子 お好み ▶マルコも使ってるおススメの調理器具  こちらの過去動画でご紹介しています フライパン 遠藤商事 業務用 TKG キャスト フライパン 21cm 本体アルミニウム合金 取っ手アルミニウム合金 AHLW602 チーズおろし器 Microplane おろし器 正規輸入品 31.8×3.5×3.3cm ブラック プレミアムシリーズ ゼスターグレーター MP-0611

The idea is simple: instead of boiling the spaghetti like in traditional pasta, you prepare it like the rice in risotto. You make a tomato sauce broth with tomato sauce and water. Then you give the pasta a quick cook directly in a separate pan so you give it a bit of a char. Finally, you slowly ladle the tomato sauce broth in, scoop by scoop, until the pasta is done.

しまだあや(島田彩) on Twitter: “「暗殺者のパスタ」って知ってる…?イタリアで流行ってる料理らしいねんけど私知らんくて今食べてて、これ、あの、すごいまず、パスタお湯で茹でない。硬いままトマトソースと油で炒めて焦がしてた。そっからトマト汁で茹でてた。水分全部トマトやから超濃厚で、旨過ぎて殺されそうになってる / Twitter”


Assassin’s pasta took off in a huge way on social media, particularly Twitter, with many in Japan posting “making-of” photos takes as they attempt to spin up the dish themselves at home. One user, Shimada Aya or @c_chan1110 (above), has netted 1.9 million likes with her succinct instructions and tasty-looking snaps.
Photo from Sukkiri! on the story behind Assassin's Pasta.
Photo from Sukkiri! on the story behind Assassin’s Pasta.

The dish got an additional boost in the past two weeks as it made the news on Sukkiri!, the popular NTV morning news and entertainment program. The hosts and guest panel ate the dish live on air, gushing over the unique taste compared to traditional spaghetti.

It’s too early to tell whether Assassin’s Pasta will become a staple at Japan’s Italian restaurants, of which there are around 8,250, or about 6.54 per 100,000 people. For now, it’s at least proving a popular dish in Japanese homes – and one that might soon become a staple alongside bolognese and Naporitan.

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ナポリタン. Wikipedia JP

自宅で食べる「好きなパスタの種類・ソース」 2位は「ナポリタン」、1位は?ITMedia News

Killer spaghetti (spaghetti all’assassina). Eatalian with Roberto

都道府県別イタリア料理店店舗数. Todo-Ran

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Jay Allen

Jay is a resident of Tokyo where he works as a reporter for Unseen Japan and as a technial writer. A lifelong geek, wordsmith, and language fanatic, he has level N1 certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and is fervently working on his Kanji Kentei Level 2 certification.

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