Pizza, most would agree, is one of everyone’s favorite dishes. I’m certainly a fan of it, and many parties are easily made better with the addition of a nice slice of pizza. There are some subtle differences in pizza as it is served in Japan, since both due to costs, different tastes, and availability, there is some tweaking done.
The main difference is that pizza here is not served in gobs of gooey cheese. Cheese is actually expensive here, and one kilogram of cheese in Japan costs much more than it would in other places. The preferred pizza cheese of choice is of course still mozzarella, just not in the same quantity.
Generally, pizza here also does not have a lot of tomato sauce. It may be more of a choice than the issue with cheese, though. Tomatoes are a little more expensive than their international counterparts, but since tomatoes are easy to grow in most environments, it’s probably more of a taste reason. However, incredibly enough, mayonnaise is also a very popular sauce for some pizza in Japan, but it’s not bad at all! It’s simple and tangy, so it fits the profile of a pizza in the same way ranch, pesto, or barbeque sauces have been known to be used. I have seen advertisements with squid ink as a pizza sauce, but I have not yet tried it!
Japanese pizza also tends to have more ingredients than the usual pizzas in other countries do. Since Japan of course is a country of seafood, shrimp, scallops, squid, and octopus can be found on pizzas here, and they fit in rather well. Some vegetables like corn, broccoli, and potato have been known to be featured on pizza. One ingredient that is not as easy to find, however, is pepperoni; it does exist here, but either due to taste or cost, it is far from common. Sausage is also a little different, since sausages in Japan tend to be less spicy and herbal and a lot sweeter, closer to hot dogs.
The most surprising thing about pizza here isn’t the ingredients; it’s the cost. A single large pizza depending on the toppings varies from ¥2300 all the way up to ¥5000, which is quite a sticker shock for people who may be used to cheap $5 and $10 pizza. Fortunately, delivery service can be just as swift, as scooters emblazoned with the logo of their company can be found all over the street. Some familiar international brands, such as Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut are also easily available here.
While pizza is always a great and welcome addition to any meal or get-together, it should be noted about how different of an experience it can be. Then again, pizza is still pizza, so go ahead and have a slice!