Where In The World You Can Get Starbucks Lasagna

Generally, the food choices at Starbucks in the U.S. include hot sandwiches, wraps, and bakery items, like cakes, cookies, and buns. We also get protein boxes containing snackable foods, like multigrain crackers, apple slices, boiled eggs, cheeses, and meats. But once you leave the country, you may find that Starbucks has food options you didn't expect, from soba noodle salads to British-style sausage rolls. Select Starbucks stores in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Japan even serve different types of lasagna, all crafted to meet local tastes and demands.

The dishes all have slightly different names. A visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Tokyo will net you the chance to order a portion of beef lasagna, which is made with a rich, meaty bolognese and dressed up with Béchamel sauce and melty mozzarella. In case the pasta wasn't filling enough, the meal even comes with three pieces of warm focaccia.

Starbucks Hong Kong's version of lasagna may not be as fancy as its sibling served in Japan, but it is as classic as it gets. The beef bolognese is also dressed up with a creamy Béchamel sauce and plenty of melty cheese. Starbucks Malaysia provides a twist on the traditional recipe by serving it up with minced chicken instead of beef. Other than that, it's a rather familiar lasagna, combining Béchamel and tomato sauces with plenty of cheese. 

Localization has been an important Starbucks strategy

That Starbucks should offer dishes that may never make it to the United States should come as no surprise. After all, Starbucks has long practiced the art of localizing its offers – both food and beverages — with the goal of adapting to local tastes and food cultures. This explains why you'll find things like the Purple Yam (Ube) Cheesecake in the Philippines, the Chocolate Crunchy Roll (a sponge cake concoction made with fresh cream and mascarpone cream cheese with a hazelnut and chocolate coating) in South Korea, and the Cheese Savoury (made with poppy seeds, olives, walnuts, and cream cheese) in Turkey. If you're no fan of pasta and you happen to be in East Malaysia, you might even get to try a rich, coconutty, smoked chicken curry served with aromatic rice, called the Ayam Salai Masak Lemak Cili Api.

Ellis Ng, product R&D lead for Starbucks Asia Pacific, described the creative process used to dream up beverages for the Asian market as a customer-centric one. While he might have been talking about drinks, he could have also been describing the process that decides the chain's food items. Ng said the company was looking to "create innovative experiences that excite [its] customers, providing a variety of choices." With the different variations of lasagna currently available across the region, it's likely that the Starbucks R&D team put a similar amount of thought into the pasta dish, too.