Pizza is a curious thing. It is a kind of universal non-universal food. Anyone who has had it loves pizza, but no two people are exactly alike on what they want on their pizza. Some people like black olives, for which we will not judge you. Others vastly prefer just bread, tomato sauce, and cheese like a Neapolitan.
It makes sense that the pizza adapts to local tastes wherever it goes. Of course, that just makes you wonder as you stare at the slice in front of you. Just what do people from various places like to see on their pizza, and how different is it from what you think makes a good topping?
Before we go that far, I’d like to point out that pizzas don’t always need toppings. The Neapolitan style seems to rely on only cheese, tomato sauce, and some olive oil and basil. In some cases, it does away with the cheese entirely.
However, most of the world prefers more than just tomato sauce on a piecrust.
Now, personally, I like my ground beef and bacon strips. Slather on some barbeque sauce and I’ll call it good. Maybe some egg and ham instead of the sauce if I’m eating it for breakfast. Incidentally, that sounds pretty typical of Australian pizza preferences.
Costa Ricans tend to add coconut and shrimp to their pies. I’m personally not sure how the former works out. The latter is okay if you do it right, though. I like shrimp in my pizza.
If you prefer pizzas more like an American, that means you slather on many toppings. Pepperoni, extra cheese, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions are the most common additions. Some folks like to add even more, but I think that’s too many flavours happening all at once.
Green peas are popular additions in Brazil. What is up with that? Less odd choices include hard-boiled eggs, raisins, and corn.
The Japanese use eel and squid. Corn is also increasingly popular, for some reason not even my Japanese friends can explain. Teriyaki chicken is not unheard of, too. I’ve tried that last one, and it’s not going on my favourites list, but it’s not a bad choice.
The Greeks like their pizzas with feta cheese, oregano, green peppers, olives, and pepperoni. It’s a pretty simple setup, but one that’s surprisingly flavorful.
The Portuguese like sausages as toppings. You’re likely to find either chorizo, a Spanish sausage dish, or linquigica, a garlic-laden local recipe. Both are good.
In Russia, they serve pizza cold. They also use a local thing called mockba as their primary topping. I am told it is a combination of onions, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, and red herring. For some reason, I keep thinking this is the sort of thing I’d expect from a nation surrounded by water, not Russia.
Finally, leave it to the French to have their pizza flair. They use bacon, onion, and fresh cream and slather it on top of a thin layer of dough as the crust. It is a unique take.