7 Differences In Pizza From Around The World
We, like everyone, love humankind's crowning achievement: pizza. So this week, Cracked is dishing out pieces of pizza history and deep-dives into the food G.O.A.T.
When you think about it, pizza is an amazingly versatile food; you could order it at a five-star restaurant along with an overpriced bottle of wine or have it prepared by drunk teenagers at 3 A.M. and shipped to your house in less time than an episode of Jeopardy. There's round pizza, square pizza, even bat-shaped pizza (for a limited time).
Even though most pizza boxes feature wildly insulting caricatures of chefs with giant Super Mario staches, we don't even know exactly where pizza originated; China? Ancient Greece? Or did the Greeks just steal the idea from the Ancient Persians? Pizza is a dish that truly belongs to the world and changes depending on where you are, so let us be your culinary guides for a pizza-themed trip around the globe as we observe how …
Japan Has A Lot Of Seafood Pizza
Fishy pizza toppings are generally less prevalent in North America – with the exception of anchovies, which most folks, up to and including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, seem to detest.
But in Japan, in addition to the fact that their pies are sometimes slathered in mayonnaise, seafood toppings seem to be more common, ranging from fried fish fillet to "tiny dried shrimp." You can also get pizza with squid ink instead of tomato sauce – which isn't some kind of ultra-rare delicacy, you can literally get frozen squid ink pizza in the grocery store.
Of course, you can't just throw any seafood on a pizza and expect the Japanese public to lap it up, as evidenced by last year's "Crispy Fish and Chips Pizza" from Domino's, which featured fried fish, french fries, tartar sauce and actual hunks of lemon on top for some reason.
An Australian Pizza Might Have BBQ Sauce and/or Bacon and Eggs On Top
Ah, Australia, home of boomerangs, koalas, and people who are sick of being reduced to a handful of stale stereotypes. Apparently, in the land Down Under, you can routinely get barbecue sauce instead of a tomato sauce base. The trademark "Aussie Pizza," meanwhile, features both bacon and eggs – for those of you worried that your hot bread and melted cheese disc was a little too healthy.
In addition to the "your grandfather's breakfast in 1947" pizza, one Australian hotel offers a pizza featuring the meat of kangaroo, emu, and crocodiles –
– presumably for tourists expecting their pizza toppings to have been personally killed by Paul Hogan himself.
In Brazil, You Can Follow a Pizza Dinner With a Dessert of … Pizza
Ask any exasperated Chuck E. Cheese employee; most kids have asked for candy on their pizza at some point. Well, in Brazil, that wouldn't be quite so unusual. Of course, the country has its fair share of traditional cheesy pizzas and is reportedly the "second largest" pizza market in the world! A Brazilian pizzamaker also claims to be the inventor of the stuffed crust pizza and is therefore at least partly responsible for this 30 seconds of nightmare fuel …
But Brazil also has dessert pizzas – because who among us doesn't finish eating a pizza dinner and immediately think to themselves: "I sure could go for another entire pizza."
Of course, Brazil isn't the only country to make dessert pizzas, as evidenced by the affront to nature that was the Domino's Oreo pizza.
Scotland Deep Fries Pizza (And Everything Else)
Scotland's purported penchant for deep frying everything is something of an "inside joke" among locals. Famously, you can get the delicious cries for help that are deep-fried Mars bars, but there's also deep-fried pizza, or "pizza crunch." This sounds like the kind of risky culinary experiment you'd expect to find in the last twenty pages of an Elvis biography, but it's a real thing typically sold in chip shops, where the pizzas are fried in the same oil as fish and chips. The meal comes with a side of chips, but oddly not a take-home pacemaker.
Not surprisingly, some Scottish pizzamakers have also dabbled in haggis pizza, complete with a "drizzle of scotch" – which could really only get more Scottish if it were shaped like a bagpipe and garnished with the late Sean Connery's leg hairs.
"Zanzibar Pizza" is Dough Crammed With Everything You Could Possibly Imagine
Off the Eastern coast of Africa in Zanzibar, their famous Night Market offers up everything from seafood, to sugar cane juice, to samosas – and also Zanzibar pizza, "a greasy disc of dough stuffed with a hodgepodge of ingredients." While it looks and tastes "nothing like Italian pizza" it's one of the most popular items amongst locals and tourists. It kind of looks like a much fresher hot pocket, but with mayonnaise and an egg thrown in for good measure.
While it isn't exactly a pizza, it's more similar to the "stuffed grilled pancakes made in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, and India" and has only become popular in Zanzibar in the last thirty years.
Pizza in Lebanon Sounds Great (if it's Not From Pizza Hut)
Roughly a decade ago, Pizza Hut Middle East dumped a new product into restaurants, including in Lebanon, in which the crust was made of literal burgers and chicken nuggets. Basically, if David Cronenberg had gone into the fast-food business, this is exactly the kind of monstrosity he would have come up with. Oh, and it was called the "Crown Crust" because what could British royal iconography possibly conjure in the Middle East other than joy?
American franchises aside, the Lebanese version of pizza is known as man'oushe, typically smaller in size and topped with oil and za'atar, a "combination of herbs and spices" that can be "traced back to the ancient Egyptians." Some of the various toppings include pomegranate molasses, hummus, and yogurt. All of which sound way better than Pizza Hut's diarrhea factory of a meal.
Finland's Reindeer Meat Pizza Was an Act of Political Revenge
In Finland, you can get a reindeer meat pizza, a recipe concocted not to ruin Christmas Eve for Finnish children, but as an F-you to former Italian Prime Minister/current sketchy lounge singer Silvio Berlusconi. It all stems from an incident in 2005 when, following a trip to Finland, Berlusconi "insulted" the nation's cuisine, claiming that their food consisted mostly of "marinated reindeer." So, in retaliation, the Finns … marinated some reindeer.
In 2008, Nordic pizza chain Kotipizza released the "Pizza Berlusconi" featuring, among other toppings, "smoked reindeer." The Pizza Berlusconi even went on to win first place at the Plate International Pizza Contest in New York City.
The acclaimed pizza naturally earned a permanent place on the menu, which didn't go unnoticed by the Italian government. Reportedly, the Italian Embassy "demanded that the prime minister's name be removed from the dish," alleging that the "restaurant was profiting off of the use of Berlusconi's name recognition in their advertising." Apparently, they backed off because it's still available to order today and in far more demand than the actual Berlusconi.
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