Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pizza!

Korean pizza definitely has its own distinct personality. It's entirely different from New York style thin crust or Chicago style deep dish. The concept of pizza has been tweaked, changed, and stretched to fit the Korean public in ways I've never thought were attainable by a pizza. Koreans have taken pizza to a whole new level and sometimes maybe they just shouldn't have.

There are so many reasons to love Korean pizza! I love the way Koreans say pizza. PEE-JA! I love the crazy stuff you put on the pizza, and the wild recipes the pizza joints come up with. I love how they wrap the take-out pizza boxes with ribbon like it's a gift to put under the tree. I've even had pizza in a cone! AND of course, I can't talk about pizza in the ROK without giving props to the one and only Mr. Pizza.

First of all, no pizza in Korea comes without hot sauce, Parmesan cheese and pickles on the side. Pizza and pickles never went together in my world before, but here you never see pizza without it. I think it has something to do with the amount of cheese in one sitting. Sometimes pizza also comes with a little side of garlic dipping sauce. It doesn't taste very much like garlic to me, and is far too reminiscent of the consistency of cheese whiz for my liking, but some people love this stuff. I had a coworker a couple of years ago who loved it so much that I'm pretty sure he probably ate it all by itself with a spoon when no one was watching.

There a lot of familiar pizza places in Korea including Papa Johns, Domino's (which has some crazy Star of David pizza), and Pizza Hut (which, somehow, is somewhat of an upscale dining establishment). My all time favorite here is Mr. Pizza because they proudly display that their pizza is "Made for Women." I just think this slogan is totally hilarious. No one seems to know why either. On the company's website it says that their pizza making techniques make it healthier and lower in fat. They claim to be the originator of the "Well Bing" pizza and Mr. Pizza's secret ingredient is their hands and hearts (and a bunch of cheese, tee hee). I guess these things are attractive to women. I have to wonder if saying it's pizza for women deters or attracts male customers. And get this, the 7th day of every month is "Mr. Pizza's Woman's Day." I have no idea what happens on "Woman's Day," however, I imagine it should be like what every man wishes "Ladies Night" at a bar would be like or like a sleepover party at an all girl's boarding school.

My favorite pie at Mr. Pizza is their Vegetarian or Begetarian as it reads on their Korean menu. It has: "Mushrooms, corns, onions, green peppers, red pimentos, black olives." That's right, it has corn! All pizza in Korea, in my experience, has corn on it. Some other interesting toppings include potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet potato mousse, cream cheese mousse, pumpkin mousse, "fruit cockstails" (whatever that may be), and almond slices.

Their menu boasts a collection of bizarre pizzas. Listed from least to most ridiculous:

Potato Gold
Our most popular pizza. It is upgraded potato pizza added sweet potato mousse, cheddar cheese nacho chips and sour cream. Well-being premium pizza with rich taste.

Free Ta
Go ahead! you be the chef!
Enjoy your pizza! Enjoy your toppings!
You decide which toppings to enjoy with your thin crust pizza. Choose from beef, shrimp, chicken breast and vegetables to create your own fajita pizza. It's fun! It's wholesome! It's Free Ta!

Grand Prix(shrimp+potato)
surprising combination of European cookies and pizza!
Sprinkling the crust rings with sunflower seeds,
pumpkin seeds, and raisons, this one-of-a kind pizza which tastes like European soft cookies, will have you craving for more! And that's not all. With Grandprix, you can have our two best toppings, shrimp and potato, on one crust. And when you're done, dip the rest of the crust into our irresistible blueberry sauce for dessert!

This post doesn't exhaust all the things that could be said about Korean pizza. OH NO! This is just the crust, and who knows what the future may hold for pizza in this country.

5 comments:

elias ~ said...

great post about Korean pizza. it is totally another experience. their pizza's aren't as greasy i find. yeah when did Pizza Hut get so high class eh????

Rose said...

pizza that tastes like cookies with shrimp on it and seeds. Wow. This makes me want pizza. but not the pizza described. Not that at all.

Anonymous said...

http://www.zenkimchi.com/FoodJournal/?p=200

Joe in Korea said...

"On the company's website it says that their pizza making techniques make it healthier and lower in fat. They claim to be the originator of the "Well Bing" pizza and Mr. Pizza's secret ingredient is their hands and hearts..."

Talk about cheesy.

Walt Jocketty said...

The reason it is "made for women" is because many Korean housewives do not like eating out, and Mr. Pizza is essentially saying, "This food is good enough for a housewife to eat--it's as good or better than her home-cooking." I don't know why many ajummas don't like eating out, but this is the reason I was given by my friend.