Part spaghetti, part Asian noodle, all deliciousness…you’ll want to get your hands on some…if you can find them!

At SoraNews24, we love delicious food, but we especially love when we can either get it for super cheap or make it super fast. That’s why we were pretty excited to try out a quick-cook meal that has almost a cult following Okayama Prefecture, in the southwestern area of Japan.

It’s called “Cruedo Spaghetti-style Noodles”, and it’s made up of noodles that are not quite Italian-style spaghetti but also not quite Japanese noodle: part east, part west, but all tastiness.

It was our Japanese-language reporter Ikuna Kamezawa who decided to give it a try. Ikuna is in fact not from Okayama but the neighboring prefecture of Shimane, where Cruedo Spaghetti-style Noodles aren’t as big a thing. But you can still find them in inconspicuous corners of Shimane supermarkets, so Ikuna knew about them, but hadn’t tried them.

Probably the most basic flavor is the tomato flavor, which tastes like Neapolitan sauce, a ketchup-based pasta sauce popular among Japanese “Western-style” restaurants. They also have a tarako flavor, which is flavored with cod roe. Both come in packs of three servings for 198 yen (US$1.81). Though the package says it comes with “Soup”, the “soup” is more like a package of seasoning, since it isn’t diluted with water.

▼ For some reason, the makers put a lot more effort into the design on the package of tomato seasoning than the tarako seasoning.

Now for the noodles. A brief glance at the ingredients list told Ikuna that the main difference between these “Spaghetti-style Noodles” and actual spaghetti is that these noodles aren’t made with eggs, which are a staple ingredient in spaghetti and many other kinds of Italian pasta.

The “Spaghetti-style Noodles” certainly looked a lot more like udon in shape and color. That made Ikuna wonder if they’d be good with men-tsuyu broth or some kind of Japanese noodle sauce, but Ikuna supposed that was an experiment for another day.

They were also much thicker than spaghetti, perhaps about five times thicker, and they didn’t have the same springiness as Italian pasta. They were much stretchier and soft. They’re a completely unique kind of noodle that could easily become a habit to eat!

Making Cruedo Spaghetti-style Noodles is super easy. First, you sauté the noodles with a little oil

Then add the seasoning powder

Mix it up well…

..and voila! It’s done in just one minute.

Ikuna asked fellow reporter and carb-lover Takashi Harada to give it a try.

Harada’s verdict: “Hmm…the flavor’s a bit weak.”

Hm. Well, he’s probably not wrong, but Ikuna would rather say that instead of the flavor being “weak”, it’s more “light”. The tomato-flavored Spaghetti-style Noodles are like an elevated version of the little serving of ketchup spaghetti you get when you order a Salisbury steak meal at a family restaurant, a mildly dressed pasta that’s a great side to a rich, meaty meal.

Furthermore, she said, now gaining momentum in her argument in favor of Spaghetti-style Nooles–spurred on by some kind of auxiliary pride on the part of Okayama–this dish is the kind of food that gets better the more you eat it. You will not understand its complex flavor with just one try. You have to eat it many times to truly get a grasp of its true nature! That in itself is the spirit of Okayama. (Probably.)

Anyway, the flavor of the Tarako noodles was much stronger. Tarako usually comes in a paste or a sauce, and the fact that this pasta was flavored with a powder gave it more of a dry texture, which was, admittedly, a little strange. But it’s not totally a bad thing, because it made it taste like delicious junk food that could become a dangerous craving.

Harada’s verdict: “Mm! The flavor is strong! It’s good.”

If you want to elevate these instant noodle dishes, Ikuna suggests that for both flavors, frying the noodles for a little longer to give them a slight char makes them even better. The makers of the Cruedo Spaghetti-style Noodles also say that adding whatever vegetables and meat you like to either flavor makes a tasty meal, so really, you have endless options when cooking with them.

Ikuna tried adding Neapolitan Pasta-style toppings–bacon and green peppers–to the tomato flavor and served it to Harada…

And he approved!

So if you’re looking for a really easy, super cheap, tasty meal for busy days, definitely check out Cruedo Spaghetti-style Noodles–if you can find them. They’re hard to find anywhere outside of Okayama, unfortunately, so your best bet might be to pick some up when you go to check out Okayama’s new Pokémon manholes covers.

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