HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Why Super Long Pasta?

I am in my Local Trader Joes and I spy their latest addition to their pasta section, dried spaghetti about 2 ft long. The first thing that enters into my mind is, why?

Is this a marketing gimmick or is there some reason for having your pasta be as long as your arm?

Could anyone give some insight here?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. someone told me that chinese culture believes that long noodles represents long life so it's traditional to have a noodle dish on your birthday. not sure if that's totally accurate, but i like the thought.

    i guess the same belief can be applied to spaghetti?

    1. why not long spaghetti?

      btw, I saw the same product last week and I was tempted to buy it but I bought the cute little corkscrews instead (the name of it starts with a "t")

      3 Replies
      1. re: bitsubeats

        Off the top of my head... I think long spaghetti is harder to deal with in terms of finding pots in which to cook them in. You would have to fire up the big 12-quart pot every time you wanted to make a quick pasta dish.

        Then there is the winding it around the fork, you could get carple tunnel from the winding... and then trying to fit the bundle it into your mouth. Don't wear white...

        1. re: czaplin

          As is I break the "normal" pasta in half when cooking.

          1. re: hummingbird

            Well, don't EVER do that for Chinese guests!!! It means you are trying to shorten their lives.

      2. 2FT Long spaghetti??? It might inspire some chinese-italian cooking in my home. We also eat an egg on our birthdays aside from the noodles mom made.

        1. Wild guess: once upon a time, length corresponded with the pastamaker's skill and was equated with quality. Now, machines can make 10 ft long pasta with no problems.

          1. My pragmatic side says, "because they can".

            My other guess, because long noodles give you the ability to create a large pile or mountain of noodles on a flat plate...think of how rope coils. Short noodles tend to slip and slide.

            1. I believe it's 20 inches as opposed to 10 inches for regular. I know some restaurants that like to serve this length, to be different, don't know any special purpose in home cooking though, except to impress your friends and family.

              1 Reply
              1. re: coll

                or bewilder your friends and family, as they twirl the spaghetti..and twirl it..and twirl it... with a strange look on their face as it never ends..

              2. It's something of a marketing gimmick, reflecting atraditional size of spaghetti bought in bulk. They're meant to be broken in half, just as, when I was a kid, "ziti" meant 10" long tubes meant to be broken in half (usually for sunday ragu or with broccoli); today, ziti usually means a short-cut, though you can still find the longer version--which I love to snap in half and toss in the pot.

                1. Hhhmmm... maybe some college dude works at the pasta factory and thought it would be funny?! My husband and I were making pasta a couple of weekends ago and he wanted to make my brother one really long noodle because he thought it would be funny; I didn't let him!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Katie Nell

                    There's a noodle shop in Shanghai which specializes in one long noodle for birthdays. They will make one a meter long for every year of your life; so far the longest they have made was 70 meters (about 230 feet).


                  2. It's different and probably fun to eat.

                    I've seen it at high end markets.

                    I could never understand anyone breaking up spaghetti or chopping it up into bite size portions.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: monku

                      >>> It's different and probably fun to eat.

                      I can imagine!

                      Not only will we be wiping the sauce off our mouths, we will need a Q-Tip to get the sauce out of our ears.

                      Personal Injury Lawyers: Have you suffered from Spaghetti Whiplash?


                      1. re: RShea78

                        Maybe it's for vertically challenged guys
                        who can't afford Hum Vee's?

                    2. There was a brand of very long spaghetti called "slimetti" that I used to see at my local natural food coop for years. It was made in the US and I always figured it was a gimmick.

                      1. I see those at the the supermarket all the time. Mostly the Barilla brand. They've been around since before I can recall. I've never seen anyone buying them, though.

                        1. What is the length of traditionally made spaghetti, the kind that is hung on racks to dry? I would guess it often hangs two feet long on each side of the rod. If that is the case, then the common supermarket 10" length is, in itself, a marketing convenience. From a manufacturing standpoint (whether industrial or hand) there is nothing special about these shorter lengths.

                          Homemade pasta, rolled with a hand cranked machine, typically comes out a yard long. You would have to start with awkwardly small pieces of dough to produce strips a foot long. Commercially made egg noodles are often sold in nests or tangles that reflect its natural long length.


                          1. I've made 2 foot long spaghetti before...no big deal. Just use your large stock pot to boil the first half of the spaghetti...when that half cooks, gently bend in the other half. Not much significant difference just a tad bit long to eat and it somewhat catches the sauce slightly more.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: BellaDonna

                              Any long noodle or pasta indeed cooks just fine in a reasonably sized pot. Stand the pasta in the pot and in no time the top (dry) part slides down into the boiling water to be cooked. No muss, no fuss and no panic.

                            2. In my area of the world, the only place you could find long spaghetti was a place called Woody's Mkt. A friend of mine sent me on the great search for it this week, and I was amazed to find it only at 2 local stores...one charged $7.99 for 2.2 pounds, and the other, Trader Joe's (thanks to your blog) $1.99 for the same amount. Thank you, thank you!!!

                              1. I thought this was a recent thread (no pun) and see that tiger revived it.

                                perhaps way back when, someone said "you know what, people are goign to start having dinner parties with a "long" theme - you know, "long" Island Iced Tea, cheese straws, like that. So why don't we make extra long pasta for this niche market?"


                                and here we are and its working!

                                1. Some of the long pastas are that way to show that they are bronze die extruded. This pasta has a rougher surface so that the sauce clings better.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: EdwardAdams

                                    Exactly! Rougher surface allows more sauce on the surface. I buy a product by Di Martino. They make 10" & 20". 10" very ordinary, but the 20"?? Great! Can only get it at an Italian market about25 miles away. I buy a case at a time.

                                  2. This is very standard in Chinese cuisine - "long life" noodles are traditional on birthdays.

                                    One of the treats of a trip to Hong Kong is seeing the noodle chef toss the noodles, twisting, turning, and stretching with each throw as the noodles become longer and longer. It looks simple, but is apparently quite difficult, and it's almost hypnotic to watch.

                                    1. What is the typical spaghetti length in Italy?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: paulj

                                        An Italian might possibly reply that length is not important...its how you cook it...

                                      2. 1) It slurps better.
                                        2) It exposes good mannerisms

                                        1. I'm not sure why. What I do know is that the TJ's "longhi" spaghetti tastes pretty good, and my kids love the novelty of extra long noodles.

                                          1. It's obviously so you can reenact spaghetti the scene from Lady and the Tramp!

                                            1. I have no idea why this 2006 thread was revived but will point out that TJ's discontinued the long pasta several years ago. I liked it - you did NOT need a huge pot. It only took a minute for the strands to soften enough to fit a 6-8 qt pot and there was no perceptible difference in done-ness from one end to the other. It was great fun to pre-sauce the cooked strands and serve them to unwitting friends, then watch the perplexed expressions as they wound, and wound, and wound.
                                              Three strands were about as much as one could start with if the forkful was going to fit into the mouth, unless Mick Jagger was your dinner guest.