Filipino Spaghetti


The national dish that brought this couple together


Geli & Jeff

Geli and Jeff live on the island of Siargao in the Philippines, a tropical island known for its surfing. Surfing, in fact, is what brought the couple together.

“I was surfing and he happened to be one of the surf instructors,” Geli said of meeting Jeff. Beyond surfing, they bonded over a shared love of cooking.

“Cooking for me is a form of therapy,” Geli said. In Jeff, she found a partner in the kitchen.

“I’m the one who assists her and that’s how we connect,” Jeff explained.

But while they shared a love of cooking, the couple didn’t share a favorite food. Geli didn’t understand the appeal of Jeff’s beloved Filipino spaghetti, a pasta dish with sliced hot dogs and a sauce sweetened with banana ketchup and brown sugar. The dish is thought to have first originated in the 1940s when a shortage of tomatoes inspired the invention of banana ketchup. 

“It’s my favorite,” Jeff said. “I can’t explain why it’s so good.” But as a show of love, Geli learned to cook the dish, adding her own special twist to it.

“She cooks it differently,” Jeff said. “It’s like her cooking is better because she cooks with feelings.” Jeff also adds his own contribution to the cooking process.

“I make her laugh so that the spaghetti requested becomes more delicious,” he joked.

“It’s always different when you’re sharing a meal with the one you love because you feel this spark,” Jeff said. “It makes you want to dance.”

Watch the Video

Filipino Spaghetti


  • 2 lb spaghetti pasta
  • 3 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1 lb minced ham
  • 1 ½ lb ground pork
  • 6-8 pieces red hot dogs sliced diagonally
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 2 cups beef
  • 1 cup shredded Velveeta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook the spaghetti pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside. 
  • Heat the oil in a cooking pot. 
  • Sauté the garlic and onion. 
  • Add the ham. Cook for 3 minutes.
  • Put in the ground pork. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. 
  • Pour in the tomato sauce and beef broth. Stir and let boil. Simmer for 60 minutes. 
  • Add the hotdogs and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. 
  • Put-in the sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir until the ingredients are well incorporated. 
  • Arrange the spaghetti pasta in an individual plate. Pour the meat sauce over the pasta and top with cheese. 
  •  Serve. Share and enjoy! 


If you don't want to make the sauce yourself, you can easily find ready-made Filipino spaghetti sauce at a Filipino grocery store or online! 
Recipe inspired by Panlasang Pinoy
Course: Dinner
Region: Asia
Keyword: Comfort food


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