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JackAdams's avatar

Why isn't Spaghetti on the menu in Chinese restaurants?

Asked by JackAdams (6497points) October 1st, 2008

The Chinese claim that they originated Spaghetti in their country, and that (according to legend, which may not be true) the explorer Marco Polo sampled it, liked it, and took it back to Italy with him.

If the above is true, then how come Chinese restaurants don’t offer it?

When answering this Q, please feel free to note your favorite recipes (or links for same) and the way you prefer to have yours. I love to have mine served with meatballs that are anywhere from golfball sized, to baseball sized! And, when a nearby restaurant has “All You Can Eat Spaghetti Night,” I am the first one in line!

Thanks (in advance!) for your comments/answers.

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23 Answers

poofandmook's avatar

From Wiki:

While some people believe that spaghetti (or even pasta in some accounts) originated in China (where long thin noodles have a lengthy history), some now assert that the reading of a lost Marco Polo manuscript which led to this belief, was in fact an inaccurate Latin translation[citation needed]. Historically, people in Italy ate pasta in the form of gnocchi-like dumplings – pasta fresca eaten as soon as it was prepared. It has now been asserted that the Muslims who populated Southern Italy (around the 12th Century) were the first to develop the innovation of working pasta from grain into thin long forms,[2][3][4] capable of being dried out and stored for months or years prior to consumption (see Peter Robb’s Midnight in Sicily pp 94–96 for details). Legend has it that Cicero, the famous Roman orator was fond of “laganum”, an ancient tagliatelle.[5] The Saracens, originally from North Africa, invaded southern Italy in the 9th century and occupied Sicily for 200 years. Pasta is now associated with Italians as a whole. The popularity of pasta spread to the whole of Italy after the establishment of pasta factories in the 19th century, enabling the mass production of pasta for the Italian market.[6]

JackAdams's avatar

I read that, also. But documentation of that is supposedly lacking.

Still, many Chinese in this country say, “We thought of it, first!”

I wonder if we will ever know.

poofandmook's avatar

They might’ve thought they came up with the concept of a long thin noodle..?

aidje's avatar

The answer is not in the pasta, but in the sauce.

Even if the noodle did originate in China, the fact remains that the tomato is a new world fruit. Chinese restaurants do serve many dishes with long noodles. The missing factor is that traditional Chinese cuisine never adopted the tomato. Hence no spaghetti.

MrItty's avatar

concur with aidie. Chinese menus do have spaghetti. They call it Lo Mein.

They do not, however, have tomato sauce or meatballs. (Although some actually do have those too).

Nimis's avatar

Are you confusing the origins of ketchup vs the origins of spaghetti?

I doubt they actually invented the spaghetti pasta.
More likely just some thin noodle.

But there actually are some Chinese restaurants that have spaghetti.
I think it’s weird. Most people probably do.
That’s probably why most don’t serve it?

deaddolly's avatar

I’ve never heard that. I love Chinese food; hate spaghetti. I like the taste of it, but hate the noodles slapping sauce all over my face. It’s just a personal thing.
My recipe for spaghetti is: noodles, ground beef and a jar of Ragu.
SO, if they ever did put it on the menu; I would never know cause I’d never look for it.
K, I’ll stop now.

blastfamy's avatar

Spaghetti is not stereotypically chinese.

JackAdams's avatar

deaddolly, if you hate the spaghetti noodles slapping sauce all over your face, then try this.

deaddolly's avatar

@Jack I love spahetti-o’s! But think they smell like vomit…

JackAdams's avatar

Try using less ammonia, when you heat them…

deaddolly's avatar

@jack…but ammonia kills germs :}

JackAdams's avatar

Substitute bleach, instead.

syz's avatar

Jack, what do you do with your days? I am amazed at the volume and, um, diversity of questions that you come up with. I can’t even imagine how your mind works!

JackAdams's avatar


Your first error, is in assuming that I have a “mind.”

augustlan's avatar

I, too, dislike traditional spaghetti noodles…probably because I have never perfected the art of twirling them onto my fork! My preferred method is to use rigatoni noodles. I brown ground beef for small pieces, and use Mama Lucia’s frozen Italian meatballs, with Prego Three Cheese or Garlic sauce. Usually add onions, too. Served with Texas Toast Garlic or Garlic & Cheese bread.

Magnus's avatar

Because spaghetti is Italian? Duh

JackAdams's avatar

It’s an Italian word, but who first created it (the dish)?

It seems like the jury is still out on that…

PupnTaco's avatar

Lo Mein is.

stratman37's avatar

Jack, I heard that french fries did not originate in France, but were first made in Grease!

JackAdams's avatar

Folks, please do not applaud; you’ll only encourage him.

stratman37's avatar

Thank you, thank you, I’m here all week. Try the veal, and don’t forget to tip your waitress!

pmichelle's avatar

Ok, here are my thoughts about why is spaghetti not on the Chinese menu if they indead created it? We live in america and our country is said to be a free country,and in God we trust and so many other laws and junk. I think that they just might not find it important to put it on their menu , but that does not mean that they didn’t create it. I know one thing I am soooo in love with spaghetti and I want to know all about it. Sooo please please tell me more. Who loves spaghetti and why?

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