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

Kim, using their typical red baseball limit, slides a sliced, rectangular pizza as 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 into the part; folded, always always check blankets sleep on chair backs; and Korean hiphop team Dynamic Duo plays on the speakers.

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

Kim makes a pizza with half associated with it covered with his do-it-yourself ranch sauce as well as partner, a tomato sauce.

“i’ve to rush,” Kim says, while awaiting the lift at Seoul nationwide University of Education, the distribution target, situated around the corner from their eatery into the higher Gangnam region. He smiles. “Most Koreans, they’re maybe maybe perhaps not really patient with regards to food.” “Why therefore belated?” he says they’ll ask. Kim claims their international clients never complain about waiting.

Southern Korea features a well-established pizza tradition. But while chefs of conventional food that is korean be militant inside their adherence to conventions—the most useful purveyors of a meal will frequently provide that meal and nothing else—pizza-makers get one other method. In reality, the rule appears to be: 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 quick mockumentary, titled “The real Origins of Pizza,” investigates whether Marco Polo took pizza from Korea. At one point, the narrator stumbles for an “undeniable” little bit of supporting evidence—a Buddhist statue through the Goryeo dynasty. The statue’s rectangular cap, he states, could simply be described as a pizza field. And small field above it? “I think this the buy that is first, get one free garlic bread promotions of that time period,” the narrator continues to express.

The advertising had been praised as a clever send-up of Korean nationalism which additionally poked enjoyable during the habit that is odd Koreans often have of professing something international as their particular. For example, during 2009, a federal federal government human body advertised that the many Christmas that is globally-recognizable tree in Korea, but wasn’t being correctly attributed as such. 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 truly are a palette cleanser, because pizza is greasier than many Korean meals, or since it’s an approximation of kimchi.

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

“I Have a Dream,” a kitsch restaurant decorated with bric-a-brac, Barbie dolls, and theater paraphernalia, situated above Gangnam’s labyrinthine subway section, hosts certainly one of the city’s more uncommon pizzas. The very nearly solely feminine customers frequently instructions the strawberry pizza, a dish that is ultra-sweet the restaurant is flogging for four years. Strawberries function in the dough, due to the fact sauce and also as the topping. It is baked with mozzarella and served with lashings of cream cheese icing.

The feminine clients will often purchase the pizza being a primary to share with you with a pasta dish, claims Yoon Seok, your head cook. Seok believes that the meal is popular in component because, as Korean women can be understood to just simply simply take care that is good of epidermis, they’re probably attracted to the health advantages regarding the fresh fresh good fresh fruit. Using this logic, Seok introduced a fig and snail pizza—many Korean brands that are cosmetic skincare items with snail extracts—hoping it would catch in. This hasn’t.

The strawberry pizza is offered with pickles.

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

Korean pizza-makers and observers that are cultural agree totally that females drive meals styles in the nation. The area was then a trend incubator, but more than that, the Korean chain is clearly focusing on the women’s market in fact, it’s no surprise that Mr. Pizza first opened near the Ewha campus. 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 nearly all of their customers are “of course female… In Korea, people think pizza, pasta, and spaghetti”—foreign meals, simply put—“that’s the women’s food.”

He’s makes it point out maintain together with their clientele. On Sundays, their day down, he tries restaurants that are new buddies or bikes across the town to consider just exactly just what eateries are crowded, and exactly just what styles he is able to discern. That’s exactly how he discovered that places serving patbingsoo—a red bean and shaved ice dessert—were attracting lots of clients. “ we need to utilize it,” he recalls thinking to himself. So he added a brand new pizza to their menu, that has whipped cream, red beans, melted cheese, and walnut powder. “I can demonstrably state, in Korea, specially females, they simply love sweet red beans,” Kim says.