Italians are crying over this 7-Eleven pasta dish, but is it really that bad?

Recently, our reporter Seiji Nakazawa has been seeing his home country through the eyes of people from abroad, gaining new insight into the local food by picking up recommendations from foreigners online.

His most recent discovery, however, isn’t a glowing recommendation but a dish that’s been called “a monstrosity” and “Japan’s most disgusting pasta“. Italians have even chimed in on it, saying, “My Italian heart is crying right now” and “As an Italian, i feel personally attacked by the mere existence of this pasta“.

Surprisingly, the dish is being sold at Japanese convenience store chain 7-Eleven, which Seiji usually loves, so he decided to purchase the dish to find out if it really was as bad as everyone was saying.

▼ The dish in question: Cold Pasta with Pork Ham, Cheese and Egg (561 yen [US$3.86]).

Despite the rather dull-sounding English moniker, the dish goes by a different name in Japanese that translates to “Dry-cured Ham Cold Carbonara supervised by Al Porto“. With Al Porto being an Italian restaurant in Tokyo’s Nishi-Azabu, a posh district in Minato Ward which is home to a large number of embassies, including the Italian Embassy, this dish had some good credentials behind it, so Seiji was surprised to find that it had caused such a controversy with foreigners.

▼ However, upon opening the pack, even Seiji was nervous about trying it, as he’d never eaten a cold creamy pasta dish before.

Now that he thought about it, a cream-based cold pasta is a rare find anywhere, let alone in Japan. After pouring the cold sauce over the cold noodles, though, he had to admit it didn’t look too bad.

How would it taste, though? Lifting a forkful to his quivering lips, Seiji slurped, and…

…he could understand all the comments about this being terrible.

The noodles were okay, as they tasted like the ones used in other non-creamy cold pasta dishes you can get at 7-Eleven. However, for Seiji, it was the sauce that really tipped things over the edge. Because it was cold, the smell and taste of the carbonara seemed to linger on the palate far longer than usual, clogging up his taste buds with a cloying sense of creaminess that wasn’t particularly pleasant.

▼ This would’ve been much better if he’d eaten it warm rather than chilled.

Even Seiji, who loves cold pasta, found this dish was too much to handle. That doesn’t mean Al Porto or 7-Eleven serves up bad dishes though — some of their other collaborative cold meals, like the Tomato, Pork Ham and Cheese dish pictured below, are really delicious, especially when eaten in the humid heat of summer.

So yet again, Seiji learned something new about his everyday world by looking at it through the eyes of a foreigner. However, next time he hopes he’ll be directed to something more delicious, like the bowls of noodles at The Ramen War or the eels grilled by a vendor in the backstreets of Asakusa, which received rave reviews from international tourists.

Related: YouTube
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