The Weird and Wonderful World of Korean Pizza

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The Weird and Wonderful World of Korean Pizza

Sweet potato crust, fig and snail toppings—in a food that is otherwise conservative, Seoul’s pizza manufacturers aren’t afraid to experiment.

It’s a chilly wintertime early morning in December, and walking into Jisoo Kim’s restaurant it is difficult to not straight away gravitate towards the hot oven into the kitchen that is open. Thirty-one-year-old Kim, the owner that is friendly chef at “Pizza by the piece,” has received a busy early early early morning baking pizzas for the big purchase that came in the time before. He’s normally by himself, but his mother Alice has come in to help out today.

Kim, putting on their typical baseball that is red, slides a sliced, rectangular pizza as a package and Alice adds it towards the stack of other people, which are increasingly being held hot by the electric heated mat and two blankets. Christmas time tree lights wink within the part; folded, always check blankets sleep on seat backs; and hip that is korean team Dynamic Duo plays throughout the speakers.

It’s noon, and also as Kim bins up the pizza that is last a number of center college students and Kia workers marches in. Kim looks momentarily panicked—he has to drop this order down before they can begin cooking. He quickly bundles up the bins and hurries out to their automobile. The Kia workers eye him drive down.

Kim makes a pizza with 1 / 2 regarding the it covered with his do-it-yourself ranch sauce along with partner, a tomato sauce.

“i’ve to rush,” Kim says, while looking forward to the lift at Seoul National University of Education, the distribution target, found just about to happen from their eatery in the more Gangnam region. He smiles. “Most Koreans, they’re maybe perhaps maybe not extremely patient with regards to food.” “Why so belated?” he says they’ll ask. Kim claims their international clients never complain about waiting.

Southern Korea includes a well-established pizza tradition. But while chefs of conventional Korean meals can be militant within their adherence to conventions—the most useful purveyors of a meal will frequently provide that meal and absolutely nothing else—pizza-makers get the other method. In reality, the guideline is apparently: such a thing goes.

Did Marco Polo take pizza from Korea?

Mr. Pizza is famous for the cheeky, playful image, and, last year, it circulated a viral video that parodies Korean tradition through pizza. The quick mockumentary, titled “The real Origins of Pizza,” investigates whether Marco Polo took pizza from Korea. The narrator stumbles on an “undeniable” piece of supporting evidence—a Buddhist statue from the Goryeo dynasty at one point. The statue’s hat that is rectangular he states, could just be described as a pizza package. And also small field above it? “I think this the buy that is first, get one free garlic bread promotions of times,” the narrator continues on to state.

The advertisement ended up being praised as a clever send-up of Korean nationalism which also poked enjoyable at the odd practice that Koreans often have actually of professing something international as unique. For example, last year, a federal government human anatomy stated that probably the many globally-recognizable Christmas time tree originated in Korea, but wasn’t being precisely attributed as a result. The spoof documentary also arguably alludes to the idea that, as Tudor believes, “there’s not a historic conception of the pizza”—it’s like a blank canvas as a meta-reading.

And seeing pizza as one thing malleable, according Jennifer Flinn, a Seoul-based Korean dietitian whom went a bilingual meals web log, has in change nurtured a tradition of experimentation. Koreans have a “less fixed image of just what a pizza is,” Flinn says. Pizza is “just a strange food that is foreign someone brought over.”

Pickles have been offered with pizza—perhaps because they truly are a palette cleanser, because pizza is greasier than many Korean meals, or as it’s an approximation of kimchi.

Additionally it is a bread, she adds, which includes an “indeterminate spot” in Korean culture, especially among older Koreans whom notice as a treats instead compared to a appropriate dinner, which necessitates consuming rice. “Because it is a snack you’ll mess around with it more,” she states. “If you merely go, ‘Oh, it is a flatbread with frequently cheese onto it,’ you’ll get various places.”

“i’ve a Dream,” a restaurant that is kitsch with bric-a-brac, Barbie dolls, and theater paraphernalia, found above Gangnam’s labyrinthine subway place, houses among the city’s more uncommon pizzas. The nearly solely feminine clientele frequently requests the strawberry pizza, a dish that is ultra-sweet the restaurant was flogging for four years. Strawberries function within the dough, once the sauce and also as the topping. It is baked with mozzarella and served with lashings of cream cheese icing.

The customers that are female often purchase the pizza as being a primary to talk about having a pasta dish, claims Yoon Seok, your head cook. Seok believes that the meal is popular in component because, as Korean females can be known to simply simply simply just take excellent care of the epidermis, they’re probably attracted to the healthy benefits regarding the fresh good fresh good fresh fruit. With this specific logic, Seok introduced a fig and snail pizza—many Korean brands that are cosmetic skincare services and products with snail extracts—hoping it could catch in. This hasn’t.

The strawberry pizza is offered with pickles.

Whenever asked why the restaurant is much more popular with ladies, he said that Korean males, himself included, prefer Korean food. “Women, they take to brand new things more usually than guys,” he claims. “And even dating, they like dating international dudes.”

Korean pizza-makers and social observers generally concur that females drive meals styles in the nation. In reality, it is no surprise that Mr. Pizza first exposed nearby the Ewha campus, the location had been then the trend incubator, but significantly more than that, the Korean string is obviously concentrating on the women’s market. Its motto is “Ladies First”—past slogans had been “Love for Women” and “Made for Women”—and its advertising promotions are women-focused. A commercial like “Mr. Pizza does shrimp,” depicts pizza that is eating for the girl carrying it out, as enjoyable and liberating.

Kim claims the majority of their customers are “of course female… In Korea, individuals think pizza, pasta, and spaghetti”—foreign meals, this means—“that’s the women’s food.”

He’s makes it point out maintain with their clientele. On Sundays, their day down, he attempts brand new restaurants with buddies or bikes round the town to take a look at just exactly exactly what eateries are crowded, and exactly just exactly what styles they can discern. That’s exactly exactly how he unearthed that places serving patbingsoo—a red bean and shaved ice dessert—were attracting plenty of clients. “ we have to utilize it,” he recalls thinking to himself. So he added a pizza that is new their menu, which includes whipped cream, red beans, melted cheese, and walnut powder. “I’m able to obviously state, in Korea, particularly ladies, they simply love sweet beans that are red” Kim says.

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