May 11, 2010

Pasta at Popolamama's


Being a vegetarian in Japan can be quite difficult at times. Especially since the concept of someone not eating meat or fish is still not common here. I get the 'so...what DO you eat?' question often.

Which is why I love pasta so much because it's easy to find or ask for a vegetarian dish! I had the Penne Cheese Cream Sauce with Black Pepper (above) and my friend got the Carbonara with Bacon and Egg (below).


Popolamama first opened in 1995 and now has over 100 chain restaurants in Japan. This is the Popolamama in Shin Tokorozawa.

They are known for the use of fresh pasta made from Durum Semolina Wheat. Not that I know what that is...but I can tell you that the pasta is really good!

This place is also really popular with the college crowd as all the dishes are inexpensive but have plenty of volume. So if you're ever hungry for quick plate of pasta, this is the place to go!

12 comments:

Tall Gary said...

I used to like the huge portions at Capricciosa but now I would like to check out Popolamama. How is their fettucini with mushroom and cheese, or the gnocchi arabiata? I love gnocchi.

I looked around for a definition of semolina. I’m still not so sure but semolina comes from the heart of durum wheat which is a hard wheat. Most other flours are from soft wheat. So:

Semolina is the endosperm or heart of the durum wheat kernel - a hard wheat variety with very high gluten content and high protein to carbohydrate ratio. Durum wheat is more coarsely ground than other flours. The milling process separates the endosperm from the rest of the grain.

Durum flour is finely ground semolina (endosperm). It's amber colour is what imparts the rich yellow typical of semolina pasta which is produced industrially by extruding or forcing the firm dough through metal dies to create the many shapes available. It produces a very resilient product that can stand up to the pasta making process and retain its shape in cooking, even if overcooked.

EG Wow said...

Interesting about it being a challenge to be a vegetaraian in Japan. It's hard here in Canada too. :)

Canadian farmers usually grow Durum wheat, I think because it'll grow in a colder climate. Tall Gary is correct that it's a hard wheat. I think it makes wonderful bread, much nicer than soft wheat. And it makes very good pasta as well.

Evelyn said...

Nice photos. I'm such a meat eater - am looking forward to authentic Japanese food (soon)!

VP said...

We got sushi and you got pasta, isn't the world a nice place sometimes?

Lois said...

It looks so good! I love their name too.

arabesque said...

haha,the name sounds like some chant phrase, but i'd be sure to try that. ^0^
btw, i'm not a vegan, so i think i'd go for the carbonara, the sound of cream and bacon...makes my stomach grumble. ^0^

Kaori said...

Tall Gary, Wow! That is a LOT of information! You could be a researcher ;) Thank you, I have a better understanding of semolina now! And the fettucini was delicious ;D

Eg Wow, thanks for commenting! Yes, it's hard findin things to substitute meat/fish here. And most restaurants won't make a dish vegetarian just for you, so I've learned to fork aside the meat ;-) I'll have to try the durum wheat bread sometime!


Evelyn, well I appreciate all my meat-eating friends because they always eat the meat on my dish, that way it won't go tn waste ;D Hope you enjoy your Japanese food!

VP, it certainly is! ;D So how was your sushi?

Lois, Thank you! I think the name comes from the Italian word `popular` and `mama` put together in a Japanese way ;)

Arabesque, I'd recomend the carbonala then! I avoidee the bacon and stole a bite and it was GOOD ;-D

Jexwell said...

Hey, how do u get there? i've love to go

Louis la Vache said...

The pasta looks delicious!

Kaori said...

Jexwell, it's right around the corner from Shin Tokorozawa station, across from Parco!

Louis, it really was! ;D

snapperoni said...

That looks yummy! :D Esp the bacon and egg one!

I love pasta too, and after watching this japanese drama called bambino recently, i've been craving for it..oh yum....

White Oleander said...

I like the plastic food displays at the window.

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