Pasta: A Universal Love Language
31 May 2022
Pasta might be synonymous with Italy, but clued-up travelers can enjoy outstanding pasta wherever they are in the world. These are some of the Italian(ish) restaurants serving some of the best examples across the Asia-Pacific.
The Arabs might have bought pasta to Italy in the ninth century, but Italians helped bring it to the world and pasta has been embraced all over. While classics such as spaghetti Bolognese and lasagne remain perpetually popular, a growing interest in regional styles and dishes has seen menus everywhere get more interesting and diverse. In short: hungry, curious eaters have never had it so good.
The following is a hit-list of noteworthy pastas being served throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the places you’ll find them. Grab a fork and tuck in.
Fettuccine carbonara @Garum
Rome has given the world some of its best-known pastas, from the delicious simplicity of cacio e pepe, to the chilli-spiked savor of all'amatriciana. The Eternal City’s most famous pasta export, however, is undoubtedly fettucine carbonara, a comforting blend of egg, cured pork jowl (guanciale) and pecorino, a sharp sheep’s milk cheese: all bound together with a hefty grind of pepper. Try it – and its aforementioned colleagues – at Garum, the Roman-themed diner at The Westin Perth (Australia).
Tagliolini with red prawn tartare, stracciatella cheese, arugula and hazelnut pesto, lime
Of course, not all pastas are traditional or based on a regional recipe. Pasta’s versatility is one of the reasons why spaghetti, ragu and lasagne have travelled around the planet and been absorbed so readily by so many cultures. At Rossini’s at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a Luxury Collection Hotel (Thailand), tagliolini is combined with raw red prawns, creamy straciatella cheese and a rocket pesto to create a bright pick-me-up with global appeal.
Restaurant & Terrace footages @Lakehouse
Tagliatelle with Hasegawa Farm Ashikaga marc beef and Bolognese sauce
One of the beauties of Italian cuisine is that dishes are designed to show off the quality of local produce. So while this dish at Lakehouse at The Ritz-Calrton Nikko (Japan) is pure Emilia-Romagna – birthplace of the world-famous tagliatelle con ragu alla Bolognese aka spaghetti Bolognese – the use of revered local Hasegawa Farm beef ensures the pasta sports a distinct Tochigi accent.
Pasta making @Romano's
Lasagne di verdure
There is, of course, more to the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna than being the birthplace of the world’s favourite spaghetti dish. The region is also home to a variety of lasagne options including this meat-free variant from Romano’s at the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar (India) made entirely of seasonal vegetables: a delicious, nourishing counter to the idea that all lasagne has to contain meat sauce and bechamel.
Paccheri by Massimo Mele, culinary director behind Peppina
Paccheri with “Genovese” slow-cooked wagyu beef shin, pork belly and onion ragu
Funny story. Although the name of this pasta dish references the capital of Liguria in Italy’s north-west, alla Genovese pasta sauce is actually from Naples in the country’s south. None-the-less, this combination is the perfect spirit dish for the cooking of Massimo Mele, the Tasmanian-born, Naples-raised chef and culinary director behind Peppina, the Italian restaurant at the The Tasman in Hobart (Australia).
Chef at work @Cépe, The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing
Tortelli di manzo con salsa al Parmiggiano
At The Ritz-Carlton Beijing’s (China) Michelin-plate restaurant Cépe, familiar flavors are cooked and served with care, making the dining room as suited to business as it is pleasure. What could be quintessentially Italian than handmade beef tortellini served with tomato sauce and amped up with a shower of shaved Parmiggiano? There’s a reason why meat, tomato and cheese is hailed as a classic Italian combo.
Busiate Trapanesi @Tosca di Angelo
Busiate Trapanesi with “Sicilian and Spanish” red prawns and Swiss Chard
Busiate Trapanesi – an elongated, twisted pasta – is synonymous with the southern Italian island of Sicily. Typically, busiate Trapanesi is served with a Trapanese-style pesto made with almonds, tomato, garlic and basil, but at the Michelin-starred Tosca di Angelo at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, the kitchen adopts a broader Mediterranean approach to the dish and pairs it with red prawns and Swiss chard.
Duck lasagne @Lollo
Over the past decade, a freewheeling Australian-Italian style of cooking has emerged down under. One of the more recent additions to the cuisine’s playbook is this instant classic from Lollo at W Melbourne (Australia): a baked-to-order marvel combining luxed-up duck mince and Buffalo mozzarella that speaks to both chef Adam d’Sylva’s Italian heritage and Australia’s bowerbird approach to cooking.
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