The Weird and Wonderful World of Korean Pizza

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

Kim, using their typical baseball that is red, slides a sliced, rectangular pizza right into a package and Alice adds it to your stack of other people, which are being held hot by an electric heated mat and two blankets. Xmas tree lights wink within the part; folded, always check blankets sleep on seat backs; and Korean rap team Dynamic Duo plays over the speakers.

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

Kim makes a pizza with half regarding the it covered with his do-it-yourself ranch sauce as well as other half, a tomato sauce.

“i’ve to hurry,” Kim says, while looking forward to the lift at Seoul nationwide University of Education, the distribution target, positioned just about to happen from their eatery within the greater Gangnam region. He smiles. “Most Koreans, they’re maybe not really patient regarding food.” “Why therefore belated?” he says they’ll ask. Kim states their international clients never complain about waiting.

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

Did Marco Polo take pizza from Korea?

Mr. Pizza is well known because of its cheeky, playful image, and, last year, it circulated a viral movie that parodies Korean tradition through pizza. The brief 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 claims, could simply be considered a pizza field. While small field above it? “I think this the first purchase one, get one free garlic bread promotions of that time period,” the narrator continues to express.

The advertising ended up being praised being a clever send-up of Korean nationalism that additionally poked enjoyable during the odd practice that Koreans often have actually of professing something international as unique. As an example, in ’09, a federal federal federal government human anatomy reported that the absolute many Christmas that is globally-recognizable tree in Korea, but wasn’t being correctly 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 pizza that is seeing one thing malleable, according Jennifer Flinn, a Seoul-based Korean diet expert whom went a bilingual meals web log, has in change nurtured a tradition of experimentation. Koreans have a “less fixed image of exactly what a pizza is,” Flinn says. Pizza is “just a strange international meals that someone brought over.”

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

It’s also a bread, she adds, which includes an “indeterminate destination” in Korean tradition, specially among older Koreans whom notice it as being a treats instead than the usual appropriate dinner, which necessitates consuming rice. “Because it is a snack you’ll experiment along with it more,” she claims. On it,’ you’ll get different places.“If you merely go, ‘Oh, it is a flatbread with frequently cheese”

“i’ve a Dream,” a kitsch restaurant decorated with bric-a-brac, Barbie dolls, and theater paraphernalia, situated above Gangnam’s labyrinthine subway place, houses among the city’s more uncommon pizzas. The very nearly solely feminine customers frequently sales the strawberry pizza, a dish that is ultra-sweet the restaurant was flogging for four years. Strawberries feature into the dough, due to the fact sauce so when the topping. It is baked with mozzarella and served with lashings of cream cheese icing.

The customers that are female frequently purchase the pizza as being a primary to share by having a pasta dish, claims Yoon Seok, the pinnacle cook. Seok thinks that the meal is popular in component because, as Korean women can be understood to simply just just take care that is good of epidermis, they’re probably attracted to your health advantages associated with fresh good fresh fruit. Using this logic, Seok introduced a fig and snail pizza—many Korean aesthetic brands function skincare items 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 females, he stated that Korean males, himself included, prefer Korean food. “Women, they take to brand brand new things more usually than guys,” he claims. “And even dating, they like dating international dudes.”

Korean pizza-makers and observers that are cultural agree totally that ladies drive meals styles in the nation. In reality, it is no surprise that Mr. Pizza first launched nearby the Ewha campus, the region ended up being then the trend incubator, but a lot more than that, the Korean string is obviously centering 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 states the majority of their clients are “of course female… In Korea, individuals think pizza, pasta, and spaghetti”—foreign meals, put simply—“that’s the women’s food.”

He’s makes it indicate steadfastly keep up with their clientele. On Sundays, their day down, he attempts brand new restaurants with buddies or bikes across the city to see exactly what eateries are crowded, and exactly exactly exactly just what styles they can discern. That’s exactly how he unearthed that places serving patbingsoo—a red bean and shaved ice dessert—were attracting a lot of clients. “ we need to make use of it,” he recalls thinking to himself. So he added a brand new pizza to their menu, which includes whipped cream, red beans, melted cheese, and walnut powder. “i could plainly state, in Korea, specially ladies, they just love sweet beans that are red” Kim says.