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Filipino Spaghetti

25 reviews / 4.5 average

This recipe is every kid’s favorite – Filipino Spaghetti – and comes from the orphanage that I worked at for a year in Cebu. Spaghetti, hot dogs, tomato sauce, and seasonings. So simple, so good.

Filipino Spaghetti.

It’s a thing. It’s a sweet, sticky, saucy, even-sold-at-McDonald’s thing.

Much like the pancit from last week, this meal was served at almost every birthday party at the orphanage where I worked this last year, usually mushed together on kids’ plastic plates with heaping piles of steaming rice and some mixed vegetables. On this particular party day, Auntie Elvira and Auntie Puriza invited me into the kitchen and showed me how it’s done. Here’s the story, in pictures.

PS. Red hot dogs remain one of my unsolved mysteries about the Philippines.

Ingredients for Filipino Spaghetti on a kitchen counter.
Noodles in a colander.
Carrots, onions, and cheese on a plate.
Ingredients for Filipino Spaghetti in a skillet.
Ingredients for Filipino Spaghetti steaming in a pan.
Evaporated milk being poured into sauce for Filipino Spaghetti.
Woman cooking in a kitchen.
Filipino Spaghetti on two spoons and on a pan.

Filipino Spaghetti: FAQs

I don’t eat pork. What can I substitute?

Just use 100% beef hot dogs.

Can I use banana ketchup here?

Sure can!

What seasoning do you use here?

The seasoning they use is called Magic Sarap and it just adds a salty flavor! Any basic salty-type seasoning would be fine.

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A picture of Filipino Spaghetti

Filipino Spaghetti


Description

This recipe is every kid’s favorite – Filipino Spaghetti – and comes from the orphanage that I worked at for a year in Cebu. Spaghetti, hot dogs, tomato sauce, and seasonings. So simple, so good.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 lb. spaghetti noodles
  • 1 lb. Italian tomato sauce (the kind they used was called “Italian” but tasted sweet and was very smooth in texture)
  • 8 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 cup minced carrots and red peppers
  • 2 cups diced or thinly sliced hot dogs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning mix
  • 7 ounces evaporated milk
  • grated cheese for topping (they use a processed cheese similar to Velveeta)

Instructions

  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Place the garlic, onion, and oil in a large saucepan or skillet. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Add the ground pork and brown the meat until it’s completely cooked.
  3. Add the minced vegetables and hot dog pieces and stir to combine. Add the water and allow the mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste to the meat and continue to simmer the mixture for another 10-15 minutes. Add the evaporated milk and salt and stir until incorporated.
  4. Combine the noodles and the sauce in a large pot or mixing bowl. Top with grated cheese. At Cherne they grate a processed cheese similar to Velveeta and let it melt into the top layer of the spaghetti.

Equipment

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: Filipino

Keywords: spaghetti, filipino spaghetti, filipino recipe

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Here’s my full post on the Children’s Shelter of Cebu website. While you’re there, you can check out the special projects page to see if there’s a need that you and your family could meet, like providing a meal (maybe even spaghetti!) for an entire home of 30 children for $33.

These kids are so precious to us – thank you for getting excited about this series with me and loving them from across the ocean!

{Just so you know: Many people have commented on this use of banana catsup – a very sweet tasting catsup made from bananas, sugar, vinegar, etc. – as being necessary for authentic Filipino spaghetti. For this recipe, I am sharing what I was shown.  These women are Filipinas, cooking for Filipinos, and they did not use banana catsup in their spaghetti. Comments that are negative or disrespectful towards them in any way because of this will not be tolerated.}

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163 Comments

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Michael Sonye

        Had this style of pasta this evening and though initially a little sweet for my tastes,tweaking from the spice cabinet did the trick. Took one Del Monte Fillipino Style Sauce and added lots of onion,pork,beef and turkey,smoked paprika,shiracha and high grade sea salt. It made a large pot of tasty sauce. Thanks for the post I will try this recipe at another time. We have a Jolibee around the corner in Hollywood.






        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Anna

          While the tweaking is interesting for your liking…I wouldn’t change or suggest it for this recipe because then its no longer an authentic philipino spaghetti sauce :/






  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Pretty sure this is an amazing dish! My whole family would love it and my gosh, it just looks so good! A fun twist on a classic!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh hot dogs! So many memories from going over to my grade school BFF’s house after school. She’s Filipino and hot dogs with rice was a staple for our snack. Red hot dogs: A beautiful mystery that need never be solved.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Anna

      Lol yes! I remember as well the sliced hot dogs with baked beans..So simple yet so special

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Nena

        I’m not Filipino and we eat hot dogs with baked beans. Van de camp brand. I thought most people did this as a snack.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    OMGSH……red hot dogs! What is up with that!! My mother is from Saint Agatha, Maine so every summer we would visit my grandparents. One item that I was sure I would have to eat is a red hot dog. Being the kid that I was, I would take a bite, politely wipe my mouth with my napkin where the red hot dog was sure to land. How could a hot dog be red!
    Since those younger years my parents built a summer house on a beautiful lake in Saint Agatha. I have continued the tradition with my husband and daughter of visiting one of the most Northern parts of Maine. I will never forget the first experience my daughter had when she saw a red hot dog. She was about 3 years old. We were doing a little grocery shopping for my mother. She had red hot dogs on her list. When I put the hot dogs in my carriage my daughter asked, what was that. I said, red hot dogs. She replied, can I have pink hot dog? Who would have thought your post today would have brought back such a funny memory for me. Thanks Lindsay!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      kayenne

      Feel free to swap out the pork for chicken or beef. or even canned tuna. we even have tuna hotdogs now.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Red hot dogs are a *thing* here in Nebraska. They’re called Husker dogs here, and I absolutely flat out refuse to eat them, partly because I did look up how they’re red. 🙂 Still, that spaghetti looks so good, I might have to make it, with normal hot dogs, of course!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Lindsey,

    Thank you so much for posting these! I travel to the Philippines all the time, and have been looking all over for recipes so I can make some of the traditional dishes at home. Also, my family is adopting from the Philippines, and I want to learn how to make some of these “comfort” foods so that our child will get a little taste of “home” in his or her new home. Thanks for giving me a place to start!!

    Reda






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Roxanne

      First, Reda, I’d like to thank you for adopting a child from the Philippines. May your blessings be multiplied a thousand-fold!
      As a Filipino, red hotdogs are “normal” to us ‘coz we grew up eating them 🙂 . I read an article long ago as to why they color it red. Surveys were done, and apparently, results showed that Filipinos like vibrant colors in food, and “red” seems to be associated with delicious. Even most of the sausages (or sausage links) you’ll find in the local markets are colored red. And since we’re in the topic of red hotdogs and banana catsup, those two are great together!
      And Lindsay, thanks for including Filipino cuisine on your website for everyone to try!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hah red hot dogs – you probably don’t want to solve that mystery. They used to serve those at my college dining hall and call them “snappy red hot dogs.” I’ll steer clear. Love this Filipino take on spaghetti!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    LOVE Filipino spaghetti, which basically differentiates with a sweet tomato sauce. My mom and I use already-whipped up sauce like Prego and add sugar for sweetness. My grandma uses banana ketchup. I’m salivating as I type. Just came across your blog. I look forward to following your recipes and seeing the rest of your Filipino ones!






      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Gianne

        For spaghetti to be Filipino spaghetti, it needs three things: plenty of quick melt cheese, the red hot dogs and banana catsup, especially the catsup! This recipe sounds delicious and tempting but unfortunately, it is a bit off. The way Italians turn in their graves for what Filipinos have done to spaghetti, Filipinos are now turning in their graves for what Auntie has done to Filipino spaghetti.

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Gianne

        Oh, forgive me! I owe Auntie an apology! I just looked at the pictures and now understand why she didn’t add catsup. She used the Del Monte ready spaghetti sauce which is Filipino-style and is already sweetened and has banana catsup mixed in.

      3. Pinch of Yum Logo
        kayenne

        i think a lot of filipinos are used to banana ketchup since it used to be more readily available and more affordable than spaghetti sauce before. there is a particular brand that i like, UFC Tamis-Anghang (Sweet-Spicy) banana ketchup… which gives the spaghetti that slight acidic tang, at the same time, sweet and spicy. it’s odd, but yummy.

        Then, the noodles and sauce are tossed together til almost dry. This makes it easier for the street vendors to portion and sell in plastic bags. neater to eat also as a street food without all the sauce dripping. i used to eat that straight from the plastic bag like i would a burger… no utensils necessary. 😉

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Bunny Balebia

          oh!! childhood memories! i used to do that as well, i mean eating the spaghetti out of the plastic bag for afternoon snack everyday before going home from school.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks yummy, I’ll have to save it for later!
    And I had never heard of red hot dogs either til I moved to Eastern NC. They have them here all the time but I haven’t touched one yet – gross-o! I intend on red hot dogs staying a mystery to me!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I knew this would come next. 🙂 I don’t put evaporated milk on mine and just like what one of the comments said, I use banana ketchup instead, too. Plus I use more than 2 TBSP of onions. 😀 YUM!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Salivating as I type this comment! I miss eating Filipino spaghetti! Although, to make it much simpler, we use banana ketchup. Yum!






  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Evaporated milk in the spaghetti!? This totally blew my mind, but actually sounds quite tasty. I bet the kids loved it. Thailand is certainly teaching me that there’s no end to the ways that evaporated milk (or sweetened condensed) can be put to use.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      My Italian chemistry professor taught us to add a milk product, which is basic, to spaghetti sauce, which is acidic, to cut down on the sourness of the sauce (like in Bogonese sauces) and evaporated milk probably doesn’t curdle as much as plain old milk. I also add sugar (Filipinos like sweet) or ketchup.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      The seasoning they use is called Magic Sarap and it just adds a salty flavor! Any basic salty-type seasoning would be fine. I think they added it with the meat.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        kayenne

        If you can’t find Magic Sarap, use chicken powder – or even soup bouillon cubes. Quite similar.

        Go light on the salt though, and just adjust seasoning on the last minutes of cooking, as these seasoning powders are rather salty already.

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Ellen

          Magic Sarap seasoning has been banned, I heard. That’s why I stopped using it though I’ve only used it 5 times when my friend introduced it to me. That spaghetti looks good. I don’t use evaporated milk in my spaghetti but I will try adding it this weekend.