When the cronut first came out, it was a big deal. While knock-off versions are now available everywhere from local suburban bakeries to supermarkets, Dominique Ansel’s 2013 creation was widely seen as an ingenious, innovative product that gourmets and gluttons alike were desperate to get their hands on.
2013 also saw a new savory food fad: Los Angeles chef Keizo Shimamoto created the ramen burger, a fusion of Japanese and American cuisines that comprises a basically standard hamburger with grilled patties of ramen noodles replacing the bun. Like the cronut, the ramen burger combines an American classic that is sometimes derided as unhealthy or lacking in craftsmanship with an intricate foreign cuisine in order to elevate both dishes.
In both these tried-and-true cases, however, the combined recipes have plenty in common. Both croissants and donuts are delicious, popular pastries. Both ramen and hamburgers are quick, tasty main dishes popular with basically everyone. The latest food fusion, however, seeks to destroy the boundary between dinner and dessert, and its reputation precedes it.
Pop Pasta, a food truck that travels around Brooklyn, does just that with what they call the “spaghetti donut,” which seems to be a donut made of spaghetti. The company offers several flavors based on popular, recognizable spaghetti dishes like carbonara, but baked in a donut shape.
The most mystifying aspect of the spaghetti donut seems to be whether it intends to make pasta sweet instead of savory, which many find unappealing. Pop Pasta actually markets their product as a twist on Neapolitan spaghetti pie, which involves making a spaghetti dish and baking it until it can be cut with a knife and eaten like pie. In the case of Pop Pasta, the pie tin is replaced by donut shape.
Pop Pasta claims their product is a meeting of fast food and slow food, which changes its place among cronuts and ramen burgers. Instead of combining two like things, the spaghetti donut ultimately seeks to use one food to bring out the best in another. The product debuted at Brooklyn food truck showcase Smorgasburg on April 1, 2017.
An order of spaghetti is a common facet of the daily dining experience, whether it occurs at home or in a restaurant. Much the same can be said when it comes to the doughnut, which is often enjoyed with a cup of coffee while sitting at the kitchen table or within the confines of one of the countless examples in the New York area.
The thought of somehow merging the two disparate foods into one seems not only odd, but impossible. Yet that’s just what’s taken place in Brooklyn, with a food market vendor venturing into new territory with the spaghetti doughnut.
Pop’s Pasta not-so-secret recipe consists of spaghetti remnants that’s been cooked with cheese and eggs that is then crafted into the shape of a doughnut. This place, which is located within the Smorgasburg food market, could very well create an experience that will likely intrigue as many people as it revolts.
This is in effect a spaghetti pie, which Pop’s makes in the Neopolitan tradition. Much like its Italian counterpart, the pizza, this option in round in nature and made to be served individually in slices.
In the latter category, the wonders of social media have already offered many people their say, even if they’ve never actually sampled the product in question. The mere thought of a tangy and iconic Italian dish being transplanted into the shape of a sweet snack will inevitably cause confusion for some.
Some of those offering comments on Twitter have expressed a willingness to commit physical violence against anyone daring enough to try a spaghetti donut. Others simply have no interest in venturing into uncharted areas of cuisine.
The reality is that the only actual connection to the doughnut is the traditional circular shape that generations of people have come to know. There’s no mad scientist approach that seeks to somehow make a sugar-based pasta.
Trying to eat spaghetti by hand goes against all the standard rules of etiquette, yet this new option allows it to be offered on festive occasions with a minimum of cleanup.