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Originating as a simple dish from Rome, pasta carbonara relies heavily on rendered guanciale (cured pork jowl), or pancetta (an Italian salumi), to create what is essentially the ultimate bacon, egg and cheese dish.

It’s one of my favorite dishes to make (and eat), but authentic cured pork is nearly impossible to source in Japan — and no, those thin, flaccid slices of processed bacon just won’t cut it. But how can you make a legitimate carbonara without pork?

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