Pizza Around the World



An example of Okonomiyaki, Japan’s variation of pizza.

Pizza, without a doubt,  is one of the most popular foods in the world. Invented in the 1800s by baker Raffaele Esposito, the dish has evolved over the years. If one were to think about pizza, the first things that would come to mind would probably be a crust, tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings such as pepperoni. These are the components of the most popular type of pizza, especially adored in America. However, this depiction of pizza isn’t the only one, and many cultures and countries around the world have their own specific kind of pizza they enjoy. There are many variations of pizza, each unique in its own way. 

The most popular type of pizza can be found in the United States of America. From New York and Chicago to Detroit and Miami. America has many different types of pizza, depending on the place it’s made. Not only in America, but food chains across the world sell these types of pizza, such as Pizza Hut or Domino’s Pizza. Pizza can be found in restaurants anywhere, showing the dish’s popularity. For instance, the New York pizza is the namesake of American pizza. New York pizza is the most commonly seen everywhere with its tomato sauce, melted cheese, and toppings. Besides restaurants, New York pizza can be seen at parties, events, or even in schools.

On the other hand, Chicago’s deep dish pizza consists of a crunchy crust, chunky tomato sauce, and loads of cheese. The cheese is layered on the bottom, followed by the toppings and the sauce. Pizza doesn’t always have to be circular. The defining feature of the Detroit-style pizza is its shape, which is a rectangle. The pizza is baked in a rectangular pan, so the corners of the crust are extra crispy. This different cooking method is successful, as a crispy crust could lead to a pizza with better texture, which is a significant factor of good food. In Miami, the toppings are pressed into the dough, which is thicker. Overall, these American pizzas are usually made up of a crust, which is covered with tomato sauce and cheese. This is finished off with toppings of any kind, whether it be meats, fruits, or vegetables. 

However, pizza wasn’t invented in the United States. The birthplace of pizza is Italy, and the country has the original and most authentic versions of it. Found in Naples, the Margherita pizza, or Neapolitan pizza, can be considered the mother of all pizzas. Key characteristics of this dish include the fluffy texture of the dough to the high temperatures of the cooking. The homemade tomato sauce from San Marzano tomatoes is extremely significant, as is the fresh buffalo mozzarella and basil, which serves as a garnish. This pizza was the first kind invented by baker Raffaele Esposito, and the many other pizzas known nowadays are modeled after the Margherita or Neapolitan pizza. Also found in Italy, specifically, Rome, is Roma; Roman pizza. Unlike the Neapolitan pizza in terms of texture, Roman pizza has a thin and crispy crust, which is slightly charred. It has a similar appearance to a flatbread. In Italy, it’s either Neapolitan pizza or Roman pizza.

Furthermore, Rome is also home to another dish, defying the standards of an ordinary pizza. The pizza Bianca, a street food, has no cheese or sauce, the main condiments of a regular pizza. Instead, the pizza dough is seasoned with various ingredients and olive oil. So the pizza Bianca can basically be equated to seasoned pizza dough.

Sicily, a beautiful island off the coast of Italy, brings mouth-watering pizzas as well. The Sfincione pizza, which originated in Palermo, is a rectangular, spongey pizza. Its toppings include caciocavallo (Sicilian cheese), sardines, onions, tomatoes, and oregano. Another type of Sicilian pizza is the Scacciata, a stuffed pizza. This dish has a pizza on top of the preexisting one, stuffed with condiments such as cauliflower, broccoli, sausages, and potatoes, making it fairly unique. 

Across the European continent, many other pizzas lie. France is home to tarte flambée, a dish topped with Fromage blanc (cheese) or crème fraîche (sourdough), bacon, and onions. This country also holds the Pissaladiere, an appetizer containing caramelized onions, anchovies, olives, and herbs. Like pizza Bianca, Pissaladiere doesn’t contain cheese. In Russia, their pizza, Mockba, is a specialty served cold and topped with fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon, and tuna. Russian pizza is known to have strong flavors, sometimes using ketchup instead of tomato sauce, sour cream, mayonnaise, or hard-boiled eggs. 

In Asia, Japan, Korea, China, and India have pizzas of their own. Japan has a pizza known as okonomiyaki, a pizza pancake made of cabbage, seafood toppings, and tasty sauces. Bulgogi pizza from Korea is extremely similar to Western pizza, except bulgogi, a Korean beef, is the main topping. Vegetables and bulgogi sauce cover the surface of the pizza. With a dough made of flour and soy milk, Xiang Bing from China is another example of pizza serving as street food. Finally, like Xiang Bing, Indian pizzas are a common street food that has unique spices and toppings like pickled ginger, tandoori chicken, and paneer. 

All in all, although originating in Italy, pizza comes from all around the world. They don’t always have to be a crust covered with cheese, tomato sauce, and toppings. Each is unique in its own way, whether it be through different toppings, textures, or even separate ingredients, sizes, and shapes. What matters is that pizza is a worldly delight that anyone can enjoy, no matter how it’s made.