It’s true that Japan has become a foodie’s paradise in recent years, offering a wide range of delicious delicacies.
However, the English-language food website Taste Atlas has ranked Napolitan, a popular Japanese pasta dish, among the 100 worst-rated dishes in the world, placing it at number 24.
Napolitan is a combination of overcooked spaghetti, ketchup, onions, green bell peppers, mushrooms, and sausage, ham or bacon, and is typically sauteed together in a frying pan.
It was created at Yokohama’s Hotel New Grand during the Allied occupation of Japan following the end of World War II, by combining foreign recipes with locally available ingredients and tastes.
Although it’s named after Naples, the dish is unlike anything you’re likely to be served in Italy or the U.S.
Its unique flavors, strong taste, and sauteing technique might feel a little “off” to those used to traditional Italian cooking.
In Japan, Napolitan is somewhat divisive, with some considering it an old-fashioned dish that was popular with older generations.
However, it’s still available at dedicated Napolitan specialty restaurants, non-traditional pasta joints, and casual restaurants. Its low price and hearty flavors appeal to kids and teens with big appetites and small allowances.
It’s worth noting that the methodology used to compile the 100 Worst-Rated Dishes in the World list is unclear, so it’s difficult to know if Napolitan’s ranking is based on worldwide foodies’ opinions or a panel of judges’ personal preferences.
Nonetheless, those interested in trying Napolitan should keep an open mind and consider it as its own unique entity, separate from other types of pasta, to give it a fair chance of winning them over.