Every culture has its own rituals and customs, especially when it comes to cuisine. While some foods are considered delicacies in their native countries, they are pretty bizarre to the rest of the population, the outsiders. But no matter where you live, experimenting with different flavor combinations is part of the fun when it comes to pizza. Pizza can be a hotly debated food topic. The opinions of different nations vary and contradict one another, as they all have experienced pizza in a different way. Pizza has almost completely lost its ethnic origins; the authentic Italian form has been influenced by many local cuisines and cultures.
In every culture, pizza began as a basic, inexpensive way of feeding a family. The best regional pizzas feature local favorite styles and flavors. Pizza can be made with just a few ingredients and customized to accommodate availability of local foods. And even if you enjoy one particular style of pizza, exploring local regional pizza while traveling is a great idea. Just like other popular local foods, regional pizzas are best enjoyed at the most wonderful pizza places. One thing is sure, if you sample pizza from different locations around the world, you will taste a variety of flavors. You just have to start from somewhere (in case you haven’t already). Whether you want to try something new or just get your old favorite one, pizza is always a good choice.
Italy by the slice: A guide to Italy’s pizza styles
Italians are dynamic, emotional and positive people. Parties never stop, with people laughing and talking while sitting in the restaurants around the corners during hot summer nights, but that is only until pizza arrives. Silence falls as diners rip into the hot crust, hastily blow on scorched fingers, then dig right in again. The Italians say that eating is the second most beautiful and important thing in the world.
When most of us think of Italian cuisine, we are thinking about pizza. When nine out of ten people talk about going out for Italian that means they want to eat pizza. Although there are many countries that are known for their national dishes, there are very few that have created an international favorite. When you are in Italy you will find that there are two dishes which are the most popular – definitely pizza and pasta. UNESCO is considering Italy's 2011 request to grant World Heritage status to pizza, but that would only confirm what eaters from the Italian Riviera to Sicily already know: pizza ranks among Italy's finest contributions to humanity. Of course, together with the Renaissance. Italy and pizza, pizza and Italy, they just go hand in hand.
There are so many types of Italian pizzas that it may probably take days for all of them to be described in detail but there are, for sure, a few of them which are regional variations and are the most common choice in particular parts of the country.
What we consider traditional pizza in America is from Naples – a thin, soft crust with tomato sauce, basil and cheese. The pizza is round and cut into wedges, sometimes referred to as pizza pie. The word Neapolitan is occasionally used to refer to the New York style of pizza. “Pizza Alla Napoletana” is created using anchovies, mozzarella and tomatoes.
Sicilian pizza is made on a thick, bread-like crust. It is still topped with tomato sauce and cheese, but any Italian will tell you Sicilian sauce is richer, heavier, spicier and oilier than that made in the northern regions of Italy. Sicilian-style pizza has a different ratio of crust to toppings than Neapolitan pizza, and is usually made in a rectangular pan and cut into squares. It has a heavy, bold flavor, and just one piece can be rather filling.
Another version of Italian pizza originated in Rome. Roman pizza is called “pizza bianca,” meaning white pizza. There are different versions of this, but none of them includes tomato sauce. Pizza bianca is made with a thin crust, sometimes almost cracker-thin and crispy. The crust is topped with olive oil, garlic and cheese. Other toppings such as sliced olives, anchovies and fresh herbs like parsley and basil are sometimes added. Another variation of pizza bianca starts by spreading ricotta on the crust and then adding other ingredients on top. There are also many others which you can try everywhere in Italy, around Europe and even outside Europe, as famous Italian pizzas:
This pizza is topped with olives, artichoke hearts, half of a boiled egg, prosciutto and mushrooms.
This is a pizza that uses a tomato base and is divided into four separate sectors with each one representing a season of the year. The ingredients used are artichokes and olives for spring, peppers for summer, mozzarella and tomatoes for autumn, and boiled eggs and mushrooms for winter. This is a terrific sampler pizza with sections of salami prosciutto cotto, artichokes, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Pizza Ai Quattro Formagi
This pizza is made using a four-cheese combination of mozzarella and three cheeses that are local such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Ricotta and Gorgonzola.
Pizza Ai Funghi e Salsicce (sometimes using boscaiola)
This is a pizza that uses sausages, mushrooms and mozzarella. The use of tomatoes is optional.
This tuna is packed in olive oil and is very popular as a topping, especially when using shrimp shellfish or anchovies.
Pomodoro Pachina and Rughetta
This pizza is topped with arugula and cherry tomatoes.
This is a smaller version than what is made in America and is frequently filled with fresh vegetables such as mozzarella and spinach or meats.
Pizza al taglio
This is a pizza that is also known as pizza rustica. It can be found throughout Italy and is usually sold by weight and includes artichokes, onions or mushrooms.
This is a thick sheet pizza that is made in Sicily and uses anchovies (often anchovy paste), caciocavallo (or another local cheese), breadcrumbs and tomato sauce.
This is the pizza that is most likely the earliest pizza. It is created without using cheese or tomatoes but is covered in caramelized onions, olive oil and savory toppings.
Focaccia Al Rosmarino
This pizza contains olive oil and rosemary and is sometimes served with prosciutto. It is often served as the appetizer course of a meal.
This kind of pizza is a recent trend that has been increasing in popularity. It is often created from ingredients like yogurt, fruit jam, honey, Nutella and sometimes even liquor
Malta’s traditional Maltese pizza
The most popular pizza styles in Malta are fast-food pizzas and pizzas based on classic Italian recipes. The classic pizza styles offered are pizza Napolitana, Margherita, Quattro Stagioni, etc., while the fast-food pizzas include typical pizza kwadra (square pizza) and a deep-pan pizza cut into square slices and most often topped with green olives, boiled eggs and sausages, or BBQ sauce. However, the must-try pizza variation when visiting the country is definitely the traditional Maltese pizza. The “Maltese-style” pizza consists of crusty semi-bread for base and toppings such as onions, sliced potatoes, beef, anchovies, olives, and traditional cheeselets (gbejniet). In fact, it is the fresh Maltese cheeselets that make this pizza style easily distinguished by giving it a unique purely local taste. They can be added to the cheese blend or simply grated on the top of already cooked Maltese pizza.
Norway – the frozen pizza nation
In contrast to the 1970s when pizza wasn’t really known in Norway, it has now been reported to be the country consuming the most pizzas per capita in the world. The results of a recently conducted research indicate that an average person in Norway eats five kilos each year. Apparently, pizza is currently incredibly popular and it is even believed that it has the potential to become “The National Dish of Norway”. Frozen pizza is preferred over fresh pizza served in pizzerias, because it is easy to make and much cheaper. The frozen pizzas Norwegians are obsessed with are produced by a local brand and there are many different styles and various sizes available on the market. Only the most popular classic type, topped with tomato sauce, ham, traditional Jarslberg cheese, and pepper, sells over nine million pies annually. Another favourite kind of pizza is the “Double Ditch” consisting of double meat, double onion, and double cheese. Some pizza connoisseurs claim that when baked properly, these Norwegian frozen pizzas are almost as delicious and flavourful as fresh pizzas.
The development of pizza in Sweden
Pizza has become popular in Sweden in the 1970s. Even though in the menus of most Swedish pizzerias and pizza restaurants there can be seen the names of Margherita, Quattro Stagioni, Capricciosa, and other world-famous Italian pizzas, the recipes of these have been slightly altered by Swedish pizza chefs. They have freely experimented with a wide variety of toppings and have developed and innovated classic Italian pizza styles. For instance, instead of mozzarella and fresh basil, as it is in the original recipe, the typical ingredients for Swedish Margherita are hard cheese and dried oregano. In some cases, the Swedish variations of pizza are different than the Italian style to an extent that they have only borrowed their names. Apart from the regular sauces and toppings, pizzas in Sweden often contain ingredients such as béarnaise sauce, guacamole, kebab meat, banana, taco spice mix, and peanuts. Actually, one of the greatest creations of Swedish pizza chefs is the kebab pizza that combines Italian and Turkish cuisine. Swedish pizzas are mostly served to customers with a side order “pizza salad”. While this invention, served with a dipping sauce, might horrify some, others would be tempted to give it a try.
The abundance of pizza varieties in United Kingdom
Being aware that British people’s favourite fast food is pizza, there is no wonder pizza is immensely popular in the UK. The pizza styles that can be found in Britain are countless, varying from classic Italian to American style to mass produced pizzas. The type of the dough varies greatly – from a scone dough to thin crispy and thick stuffed-crust styles. Sometimes the original ingredients may happen to be substituted for local products such as bacon for prosciutto and cheddar for mozzarella. The toppings that British people like most to have on their pizzas are mushrooms, pepperoni, pineapple, jalapeño pepper, spinach, and fish. Surprisingly, fish, and more specifically anchovies and tuna, is pretty popular on British pizzas. Moreover, pizza lovers who are into “hot” pizzas can enjoy chilli, Chicken tikka masala, and other curry toppings. There are now many American-Italian pizza chains in the UK as well as authentic Italian restaurants. Fresh pizzas are also sold at some of the typical British Fish and Chip shops.
Iceland’s unusual approach to pizza
In addition to normal pizzas offered, Icelanders do also get the chance to enjoy some unusual combinations. It is typical for Icelandic pies to be topped with extraordinary fun ingredients that pizza chefs would normally not use. The main topping these pizzas stand out with is bananas. They might also include langoustines, peanuts, sundried tomatoes, jalapeño, corn, and a mix of different kinds of cheeses such as cream cheese and blue cheese. Another interesting fact is that in Icelandic pizzerias, some pizzas are served to customers with jam. Visiting Iceland and ordering such a unique pizza, tourists are likely to feel inspired to become more creative and expand their pizza repertoire.
Iranian pizzas’ unique crusts
Iranian pizzas, also called Persian pizzas, are mostly known for their preparation and variety of crust styles. They are typically square and remarkably heavy on toppings, with a crispy thin or thicker crust. The thin crust is solid enough to support a significant amount of toppings, including a blend of five cheeses on top. The most popular toppings in Iran are kielbasa (a Polish sausage), hotdogs, minced meat, bell pepper, mushrooms, olives, mozzarella cheese, and Persian spices. Instead of serving pizza with tomato-base sauce, some Iranian pizza restaurants offer ketchup as a condiment. The adapted-to-Iranian-style ingredients make the pizza’s taste unique.
Pizza in Israel: kosher and non-kosher
As is the case with most meals in Israel, pizza choices are strongly influenced by multi-cultures. Therefore, pizza in Israel can be mainly divided into two types: kosher (satisfying the Jewish food rules and regulations) and non-kosher (normal pizza). When making a kosher pizza, there are a few important factors that pizza chefs are obliged to take into consideration. The first and most evident one is that the cheese used for the pizza must be kosher which means the pizza-making is usually assisted by a knowledgeable Jewish person. Another requirement is that the dough should abide the law of kemach yashan. Dairy products and meat are not allowed to be mixed and kosher pizza could only consist of sauce and cheese without meat. However, meat is often substituted for imitation meat and there are delicious substitutions of cheese used such as soy cheese. Kosher pizza is topped with a great portion of vegetables including the typical corn and labane as well as mushrooms and onions. Israel is the country giving a chance to vegetarians to enjoy a vegetarian pizza paradise except during Passover when all the kosher pizzerias are closed. On the other hand, all the pizzerias serving non-kosher pizzas do not have to comply with all these rules and remain opened all year round.
Turkey’s variation of pizza: lahmacun
Even though pizza restaurants offering classic pizzas are easy to find in Turkey, lahmacun is on the very top of a must-try list when visiting the country. Lahmacun, also called Turkish pizza, greatly resembles a normal pizza in that they both share a composition of a crust topped with various ingredients. Yet, the dough of this Turkish variation is made differently and traditionally doesn’t contain cheese. Its base is flatter and the toppings used are minced meat (mostly lamb or beef) as well as vegetables such as onions, parsley, tomatoes, and herbs. The toppings and crust are baked together in a hot oven, infusing the pie with savoury goodness. Lahmacun is then wrapped around tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, roasted eggplant, and pickles. It can be served either flat or rolled up and with some lemon juice squeezed on top.
Pizza adaptation in Mexico
Pizza is indicated to be Mexicans’ second favourite dinner after tacos. Its success in Mexico is believed to be a result of its adaptability, its price, and the speed with which it is cooked. The Mexican influence on pizza has introduced new flavours from Mexican cuisine. The typical Mexican pizza is topped with chorizo, jalapeño, grilled or fried onions, tomato, chilli, and avocado as well as beef, bell peppers, corn chips, tripas (boiled and grilled small intestines from domestic animals), and scallop (thorny oysters). The sauce used for base is either marinara or white sauce. The cheese blend might consist of mozzarella, pepper jack cheese, or Oaxaca cheese. Mexican pizza is a delicious choice for pizza connoisseurs who are craving a slightly different pizza than the regular styles.
The pizza styles in the United States
During the second half of the 20th century, pizza has turned into one of the most popular American dishes. As a matter of fact, the United States has now become the second country in the world consuming the most pizza, with about 350 slices being eaten every second. Americans have gradually changed and developed pizza to an extent to which it has only a casual resemblance to the original Italian style. The crust of an American pizza (especially a thinner one) is often made with a very high-gluten bread flour. Moreover, the adapted method of cooking pizza involves mixing vegetable oil or shortening into the dough. American custom pizzas are mostly known for having different crust styles and featuring a great variety of toppings. The most distinctive regional pizza types in the United States, ranked in order of deliciousness, are New York-style pizza, Chicago deep dish, California style, Detroit style, and St. Louis style-pizza.
New York-style pizza
New York-style pizza has spread widely with the popularization of gas ovens, which made it much more affordable and easily accessible. It has foldable, yet crispy hand-tossed thin crust, mostly distinguished by the high-gluten flour it is made of. The New York-style pizza traditionally consists of a light layer of tomato sauce sprinkled with dry shredded mozzarella cheese. It can handle many additional toppings from pepperoni and sausage to mushrooms, anchovies, and more kinds of cheese. Common condiments to put on top are dried oregano, dried red chili pepper flakes, dried basil, garlic powder, and grated Parmesan cheese. While it has previously been baked into a wood-fired oven, most pizza places nowadays use gas deck ovens which create the same delicious and crispy result. The pizza is normally sold in wide slices or as a whole pie which is quite large and are cut into eight slices. New York-style pizza has been copied everywhere, but the most authentic can be found mainly in the New York metropolitan area.
Chicago deep dish pizza
The best-known American style, after New York pizza, is Chicago deep dish. It is named after the city it was created in and, as its name suggests, its crust is so deep that it rather reminds of a cake or a pie than a regular pizza. The crust is made of cornmeal and then stuffed with a great amount of cheese. The pizza has a very thick layer of toppings which are typically assembled “upside down” with mozzarella, followed by vegetables and meat, and uncooked tomato sauce on top. The most popular toppings on Chicago deep dish are pepperoni, sausage, spinach, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. Some pizzerias add a finishing touch with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese across the tomato sauce. Deep-dish pizza is cooked in a round, steel pan, similar to a cake or pie pan. It should be wiped generously down to keep pizza from sticking and to help make the base of the dough slightly crispier. Since there are more toppings and dough, baking takes up to half an hour.
California-style pizza originated in California in the late 1970s and has gradually turned from a gourmet food trend into a product for mass consumption. Since its invention, it has been famous for its unusual ingredients and has contributed to making the pizza in general one of the most diverse and popular meals. It has a characteristically thin and soft crust, a bit thicker than classic Neapolitan style. When it comes to California-style pizza, there is not such a thing as traditional toppings, which means that pizza chefs get the chance to use their imagination and be creative. The tomato-based sauce can be replaced by barbecue, Alfredo sauce, or even organic pesto sauce. The pizza is topped with chicken, eggs, steak, lobster, avocado, artichokes, arugula, chanterelle mushrooms, feta cheese, blue cheese, and goat cheese. In other words, ingredients that are rarely or never seen on pizza. It is baked in a coal-burning oven and then comes in single-serving or two-person pizza size.
Detroit-style pizza first appeared in Detroit, Michigan and has a few specific elements that separate it from other variations. It is rectangular-shaped and baked in a well-oiled blue square pan which is normally not designed for pizza. As compared to New York pizza and Chicago deep dish, the crust of Detroit-style pizza is thicker and extra crunchy and crispy. The dough is baked twice – once before and once after toppings are placed to ensure that edges are dark brown. Most pizza chefs ladle on the tomato sauce on top of the cheese and toppings, instead of below. The cheese the pizza is typically garnished with is Wisconsin brick cheese, which is sweet, mild and melting perfectly. The crust can support many toppings, but the most commonly used one is pepperoni layered under the sauce and cheese. Depending on its size, the pizza is cut either into four or eight rectangular slices and served to pizza lovers to enjoy a crispy, cheesy, and saucy bliss.
St. Louis-style pizza
St. Louis-style pizza has been invented and gained popularity in the American city of St. Louis, Missouri. The main distinctive characteristic of St. Louis pizza is a thin cracker-like crust made of unleavened dough without yeast. The base of the authentic style is tomato sauce seasoned with more oregano than usual and white processed cheese, known as Provel. Provel is a special blend of cheese developed by a St. Louis grocery company. It is a combination of sharp cheddar, Swiss, and smoked provolone cheeses, but tastes like none of them. The pizza is cooked at 1 000° F in a wood-fired brick oven. When baked, its crust is unbalanced and hard to fold, so the pizza is cut party-style, into squares instead of pie slices to be able to support its own weight. Some might be sceptical about St. Louis pizza mostly because of it is loaded high with toppings crust that bears no resemblance to the crust style typical for traditional pizzas. It has been often called a big pizza-flavoured nacho. Nevertheless, nachos are delicious and many pizza connoisseurs find St. Louis pizza very enjoyable.
Pizza’s interesting varieties in Canada
Naturally, pizza in Canada has been influenced by the Canadian cuisine. The most popular contribution of Canada to pizza diversity is the so-called “Canadian pizza”, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, bacon, pepperoni, and mushrooms. Other variations might be garnished with uncommon ingredients such as brown sauce, donair meat (heavily spiced ground beef meat), or sweetened condensed milk-based donair.
Poutine pizza is another traditional Canadian pizza that deserves to be paid more attention to. Its concept is very simple, yet tasty and exciting – it is assembled by French fries and cheese curds, and gravy. The gravy is spread evenly onto the crust, as a substituent of pizza sauce, and then the pizza is topped with the fries and cheese curds. More gravy could optionally be added on top. This easy pizza type is baked around 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 425° F. It doesn’t require any special techniques, but is delicious and provokes curiosity.
Australia’s Aussie and “gourmet” pizzas
Australians have also experimented and pushed the boundaries of the kinds of ingredients that could be placed on pizza. The most popular pizza from the Australian pizza heritage is known as Aussie, Australian, or Australiana. Aussie pizza is the country’s quintessential breakfast fare and has more and richer toppings than classic Italian pizza styles. It is either ladled on the classic tomato sauce, or in some restaurants the tomato sauce may be substituted for barbecue sauce. The cheese applied to the pizza is mozzarella and the rest of the toppings feature tomato, bacon, ham, and eggs.
What is more, in Australia there are special pizzerias, selling more expensive “gourmet” pizzas. These are topped with tiger prawns, salmon, and bocconcini (small mozzarella cheeses) as well as the traditional exotic kangaroo meat, emu, and crocodile. Kangaroo meat tastes good when marinated in pepper and olive oil and is a very extraordinary addition cut into thin strips and put on top of a pizza. The pizzas offered in these pizzerias have pushed Australia at the forefront of the latest pizza trends and are many locals’ favourite and a must-visit for tourists.
New Zealand’s pizza
Pizza is as much appreciated in New Zealand as in other countries. The majority of New Zealanders are eating at a pizzeria or ordering pizza relatively often. An interesting fact is that the record holder of the fastest ever eaten pizza is a New Zealander man, called Josh Anderson. He swallowed a 12-inch pizza in just a minute and 45 seconds. When it comes to toppings, there are no specific rules for their arrangement which means pizza is creatively prepared with uncommon toppings such as garlic swirls and barbecue. There can also be found kiwi and strawberry pizzas, with peanut butter. Another significant difference between Italian and New Zealandish pizzas is that the crusts of the latter are thicker than the original crispy thin style.
When Asia meets pizza: pizza varieties
Asians have one of the most delightfully diverse palates in the world. Naturally, they want their food to be both flavorful and tasty. Thus, the flavors found in Asian pizzas can be considered unique. Topping a pizza is where most of the fun takes place. All worldwide versions of pizza are based on local ingredients and flavors. Around the world there seem to be no taboos for pizza topping. If you can eat it, you can put it on a pizza. Every region of the world has experimented with creating a signature pizza flavor. In Asia, especially Korea, where pizza is a more recent phenomenon, the experimentation continues!
Nowadays, pizza is considered a popular food also in South Korea, mainly among the young generation. Brands like Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's Pizza are the main competitors of local brands like Mr. Pizza and Pizza Etang, offering both traditional as well as varieties typical for the country which may include different toppings.
While cheese is traditionally used on pizza, Korean-style pizza tends to be complicated, for example in South Korea where they use three different cheeses on each pie. The famous “Triple Cheese Pizza” in South Korea goes like this: they put cheddar cheese on top of a thin crust, then add another layer of crust with Camembert on top, finished off with a final layer of crust topped with Emmental (Swiss cheese).
Moreover, Pizza Hut's “Rich Gold” looks similar to “Mr. Pizza's Shrimp Nude” but replaces the cream cheese mousse with their favorite sweet potato mousse. It is two carbs in every bite!
What is better than combining a classic national dish with pizza? Then your choice should be “Bulgogi Pizza”, which is a pizza with Korean grilled beef. South Koreans have been enjoying pizzas topped with bulgogi or marinated barbecue beef slices, for years. The slightly sweet bulgogi goes well with other ingredients including Mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, brown onions, corn kernels and bell peppers. You choose.
Flaming Pizza – the name definitely grabs your attention. Why on earth would you set a fire to a pizza? Because the folks at Grande, a restaurant located near Dankook University in Yongin, Geyongi Province, believe flambéing the pizza makes it taste and look better. This particular pizza is called apple-brie because it has pieces of apples, brie cheese and pistachios. They spray alcohol on the pizza and set it aflame, and quickly let it burn down. This unique approach to pizza has made the place famous.
What about one “Strawberry” and “Blueberry Dessert Pizza”? These “pizzas,” which suspiciously resemble pies, have been featured many times on several popular TV shows in Korea. The Gangnam hotspot, I Have a Dream, popularized the tasty desserts using frosted strawberries or blueberries on a thin crust with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
Traditional Italian-style thin-crust pizza is served in the many Italian restaurants in Seoul and other major cities. However, compared to South Korea, North Korea's first pizzeria was opened later, in 2009, in its capital Pyongyang, therefore their pizza culture still has much to catch up.
Pizza may not be the first food that comes to mind when you think of Japan, but the classic Italian oven-baked dish of a flat dough base topped with sauce, cheese and other ingredients has a special place in Japanese cuisine. Foreign pizza chains came to Japan in the 1980s, but had to adapt to Japanese consumers’ unique tastes in order to break into the market. Nowadays, pizza can be found almost everywhere in Japan. While some restaurants do offer traditional Italian-style pizza or New York-style pizza, the pizza that most people in Japan are familiar with is a unique Japanese style of pizza – complete with some fairly uncommon pizza toppings. Here’s a selection of them:
Cheese and Honey
Yes, you read that correctly – Cheese and Honey pizza. Part of Pizza-la’s “Adult Pizza Series,” this sauceless pizza comes topped with gorgonzola, cream cheese, mixed cheese, parmesan, cherry tomatoes and parsley. Once all of that delicious cheese gets baked in the oven, acacia honey is poured on top to add a “fine quality sweetness.” Pizza with honey instead of sauce? We’re not quite sold on that idea.
As for the Mayo Potato, offered from Domino’s in Japan, there are lines of mayonnaise running proudly atop this pizza. In Japan, it’s actually common to eat a baked potato with mayonnaise, so we guess this mayo, potato, sausage and corn concoction isn’t too far off.
Teriyaki Chicken Pizza
Here’s another one that comes with mayonnaise. The Teriyaki Chicken pizza is topped with teriyaki chicken, cheese, onions, corn, mushrooms, parsley, and seaweed. Take note, mayonnaise is a reoccurring theme in our trip down Japanese pizza lane.
Charcoal Grilled Chiki-Ter Pizzai
Charcoal Grilled Chiki-Ter Pizzai is a popular and regular menu item in Japan. Featuring tomato sauce, its toppings are onion, mushroom, corn, teriyaki chicken, broccoli, paprika and mayonnaise. Charcoal grilled chicken is juicy and matches the mayonnaise.
Japan's variety of pizza-like snack is barely reminiscent of its distant Italian cousin. This pizza may be not the one you are most familiar with but this is so because it is a traditional pizza style for Japan. This Japanese pie is topped with Aonori (seaweed) and Katsuobushi (fermented tuna). Comparable to a savory Japanese pancake, Okonomiyaki is made with cabbage and piled high with traditional seafood toppings and savory sauces like octopus, shrimp, pork, yam, and kimchi. However, keep in mind that the recipe varies dependent on region.
It is safe to say that pizza is becoming more and more popular in Nepal as well, most particularly in the capital city, Kathmandu, even though it was not always like that as you may probably know. Currently, you can enjoy a number of places that serve pizzas in the capital city and give your stomach what it wants the most. The truth is that ever since more pizza restaurants have been opened there and the people from Nepal were introduced closely to the fact how great pizza is, they started craving pizza. Now, pizza is slowly but surely becoming part of their everyday life, just like in Europe.
Usually, the preferred pizzas in Nepal are the Mushroom Pizza, Chicken Pizza, as well as Paneer Pizza.
With the opening of the first pizza place in Pakistan in the late 1980s, pizza became a popular food in the eastern part of the country.
It is a fact that people from Asian countries can definitely deal greatly with spicy food and it is not a surprise that they prefer their pizza to be spicy as well, like spicy chicken pizza for instance, which happens to be really popular there. Moreover, because people consume a lot of meat in Pakistan, sausage-based pizza is among the most preferred pizzas, and probably there are not many places in Europe where you can find it. However, during Ramadan, because they are not allowed to eat meat, people in Pakistan become the biggest fens of simple cheese pizza or four types of cheese combined with a thin layer of bread.
After more than a thousand years since it was first baked in Italy, Pizza still remains one of the most popular food items in the entire world. However, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, traditional oven-baked pizzas only started gaining popularity in the early 2000s. Bangladesh is considered the most vegetarian country, or simply said, people there eat less meat than anywhere else. Only approximately four kilos per person each year. However, when it comes to pizza, meat is one of the most preferred options. One really famous pizza style in Bangladesh is “Chicken Cheese Pizza”. As the name indicates, it is made of cheese and meat as well. It also has onions on top, together with capsicum, tomato, chili (it has to be spicy!), and oregano.
As for today, you can surely find a pizza place or at least a restaurant that serves pizza in almost every single corner in Dhaka. So, do not worry about missing your favorite dish if you have decided to visit Bangladesh soon.
In India, you can find Pizza Hut and Dominos, along with other chains such as Pizza Corner, which is a larger chain there. However, you have a choice between typical toppings you are familiar with, or you may try something more special. Who knows, maybe you will discover a new taste that will turn into your biggest love.
When we talk about Indian food, it is all about spicy, spicy, spicy! And the Indian-style pizza called “Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza” is perfect for spice lovers. This is a delicious Indian recipe and makes a killer topping for the pizza. Chicken Tikka Pizza combines delicious pieces of broiled chicken spiced up with garam masala and sauteed yellow squash on top of a piece of naan coated in a deliciously spiced sauce made with diced tomatoes and a touch of whipping cream for richness. It’s all finished off with some thinly sliced red onion and fresh cilantro.
Another really interesting pizza style in India is “Pizza Partatha”. Indian parathas are typically made with whole wheat dough and a lot of vegetables, including boiled potatoes, cauliflower, paneer, and leafy greens. Similar to pizza in shape and size, the prepared dough is baked in the oven until turning into golden crispy brown. Delicious!
Pizza is now a very popular choice of modern corporate India and is always the answer whether it is for working lunches or office celebrations or for something to eat while watching something television.
The fact that there have now many different pizza chains opened in China has led to a higher consumption of pizza among the people there. An interesting fact is that cheese is not an ingredient used on an everyday basis in China, just like tomato is not a culinary ingredient there (both are usually associated with pizza). Due to that fact, Pizza Hut needed to modify their menu and pizza varieties so that they can get to that point where locals will accept their food on hundred percent. That way, instead of the usual tomato sauce and cheese, they start using indigenous ingredients that were agreeable to Chinese consumers, like tuna, soy sauce, chicken or corn. “Homemade Sweet and Creamy Pizza”, launched on the market only for China, resembles apple turnovers, together with the Thousand Island dressing for pizza, which lacked tomato sauce as well.
The “Durian Pizza” is another interesting option you can try when you are visiting China. The smelly, spiky Southeast Asian fruit is loathed by many for its unique odor, but its creamy pulp is fast becoming one of the most popular pizza toppings in both China and Singapore. Complemented by butter and cheese, durian pizzas have a special mixed taste of savory, sweetness and bitterness.
As for the Chinese “Pizza Scallion”, it has the name and the preparation techniques of a pancake, yet many people actually believe that the inspiration for pizza came from Marco Polo's first encounter with this Chinese variety. Dough and filling are traditionally mixed with vegetables before baking in the oven.
You want to try something else in addition, really local? – A signature dish of China’s capital city, Peking, roast duck is something tourists make sure not to miss. But instead of following the tradition and making your wraps with a thin pancake and some cucumber and spring onion slices, you can now also savor the chewy duck meat on your pizza. This is one of the most popular dishes at Pizza Express shops in China and is also offered at Pizza Hut restaurants.
Now, if you are thinking of doing a pizza craw in China and try some different varieties of pizza, keep in mind that currently there are over 2,500 pizza places, most of them based in Shanghai.
In Asia, you always have the chance to eat your favorite popular pizza or challenge yourself and try something extraordinary. The popular pizzas with pepperoni, tuna with melt cheese, basilica and mozzarella are offered also in Indonesia. However, there are also pizzas such as the “Indonesian Fusion” pizza that combines Indonesian favorites as pizza toppings – as satay, balado and rendang. The “Balado Pizza” is spicy hot balado chili pepper pizza, chicken or beef, while another interesting choice, “Satay Pizza”, combines beef or chicken with a peanut sauce.
A bite from South Africa: Excellent pizza discoveries
Yet back in the mid-20th century, pizza was on few South African menus. However, today, take-out pizzas, fresh or frozen, are everyday-food across the Western world.
The definition is simple, as usual: a flatbread topped with tomato sauce and cheese before being baked. As in most other countries, South Africans like their pizzas with gusto, enjoying the classic toppings, like Margherita, Neapolitana, Marinara and Capricciosa, and then experimenting with typically South African ingredients, a trend that is much in vogue today.
No matter the reputation, the country is more than just the land of beef. Conversely, in Buenos Aires, the self-proclaimed pizza capital of South America, there are more pizzerias than steak-centric parrilla restaurants, and many locals proclaim that the high-rising, cheese-smothered slices rival those of New York, Chicago, and Italy. Half of the Argentine population comes from Italian descendants, so it makes sense that pizza is such a big deal.
In the local pizza realm, there are six major varieties, but all share a similar trait: cheese must be in abundance. Moreover, the benchmark for quality is exactly the amount of cheese on the pizza. The more, the better. Almost every pizza menu will serve standard flavor combinations like “muza” (mozzarella-like queso de barra cheese); “napo” or “napolitana” (not to be confused with napolitana-style pizza) with cheese, sliced tomatoes, garlic, dried oregano and a few green olives; “jamón y morrónes” with cheese, sliced deli ham, and canned roasted red pepper; plus the occasional provolone, blue cheese, hearts of palm, and chopped boiled eggs.
You will also likely see slices served with “fainá”, a dense chickpea pancake similar to a dry piece of baked polenta. Argentina’s tiny population of vegetarians love fainá because it is a healthy way to get some protein with your meal and is yummy enough to eat plain. It traces back to Genoa’s “farinata”, but only in Argentina and parts of Uruguay it is traditionally placed directly on top of a piece of pizza and eaten together in one double decker bite.
These are some of the main pizza styles offered in Argentina:
Pizza de Molde
Translating to “pizza in the pan,” pizza de molde is the most characteristic Argentine style. It has a thick base and elevated bready crust — it is bread city, cheese paradise. Most of the classic Porteño pizzerias specialize in pizza de molde. This style consists of a high-rising “alta masa” (high dough), generally reaching at least two centimeters, coming in at around one and a half centimeters in height, and cooked in a pan. It is similar to focaccia bread in which both the crust and inner dough have the same thick, spongy texture. When it is made the right way, the base has a sturdy crunch and the top overflows with a small amount of sauce and a lot of bubbling cheese that dreamily crisps at the bottom of the pan. Because pizza de molde is so thick and cheesy, the average eater only consumes about two slices. That makes it the perfect “group pizza”.
One of the best-known pizzas, pizza de media masa (half dough pizza) remains a total anomaly, debunking everything we know to be true about Argentine pizza. The pizza “canchera”, also known as “pizza de cancha”, is a cheese-less pizza covered in a red sauce and heavily seasoned with garlic, onion, and non-spicy red pepper flakes, similar to what you would find in bakeries across Southern Italy. In Buenos Aires, pizza canchera was originally sold outside soccer stadiums, hence the name Cancha, which means ‘field’ in Argentine Spanish. These slices are shorter than most de molde pizzas, and have an airy dough, a firm crunchy base, and a lot of sauce. After all, soccer fans are not afraid of getting some sauce over their clothes.
Pizza a la Parrilla
Grilling is Argentina’s most treasured pastime, and the grill the most cherished appliance, so it is only natural for the great parrilla to join forces with this pizza. Restaurants serving pizza a la parrilla (pizza on the grill), give an alternative to the bready tradition while honoring another. The ultra-thin, delicate dough is grilled over hot coals on one side, then flipped over and topped with minimal ladles of red sauce, a variety of fresh ingredients, and cheese, before being grilled for five to seven minutes longer. The result is a cracker-thin crust that crunches with every bite.
Pizza is a food that does not need any translation – it is hundred percent recognized all over the world. Of course, pizza can be done differently everywhere. In Brazil, the crust, sauce, and toppings vary depending on the local cuisine and preferences, and anything served on a slice of flatbread qualifies as pizza. The big difference is that Brazilians traditionally eat pizza with a fork and knife, rather than with their hands.
Also, Brazilians are a bit more creative with their pizzas than Americans, and the diverse local ingredients and flavors of Brazil show up on the pizzas. Brazilian pizza is not the name of a specific kind of pizza, but is used as a blanket term for all the unique toppings that can be found in that country. And you will find a lot, due to the rodizio-style (all-you-can-eat service) at many Brazilian restaurants. First of all, the pizzas are thin-crust, and are likely to have sliced tomatoes or ketchup instead of pizza sauce. Toppings include green peas, carrots, beets, and potato sticks. Others include hearts of palm, catupiry cheese, fresh corn, fresh herbs, mashed potatoes, grilled sausages, potato sticks, and curried chicken with coconut milk, and are mixed with traditional toppings such as olives, ham, bacon, oregano, mozzarella, and tomatoes. Nothing is off the table when it comes to Brazilian pizzas.