The Weird and Wonderful World of Korean Pizza

The Weird and Wonderful World of Korean Pizza

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

It’s a chilly cold temperatures early morning in December, and walking into Jisoo Kim’s restaurant it is difficult not to ever straight away gravitate towards the hot range into the kitchen that is open. Thirty-one-year-old Kim, the friendly owner and chef at “Pizza by the piece,” has had a busy morning baking pizzas for the big purchase that came within the time prior to. 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 into a field and Alice adds it to your stack of other people, that are now being held hot by an electric heated mat and two blankets. Xmas tree lights wink into the part; folded, always always always check blankets sleep on seat backs; and Korean hiphop team Dynamic Duo plays on the speakers.

It’s noon, so that as Kim containers up the pizza that is last a number of center college students and Kia workers marches in. Kim looks momentarily panicked—he requires to drop this order down before they can 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 for the it covered with his do-it-yourself ranch sauce as well as partner, a tomato sauce.

“i’ve to rush,” Kim says, while looking forward to the lift at Seoul nationwide University of Education, the distribution target, found just about to happen from his eatery into the higher Gangnam region. He smiles. “Most Koreans, they’ve been maybe not extremely patient in terms of 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 food that is korean 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 one other method. In reality, the guideline is apparently: such a thing goes.

Did Marco Polo take pizza from Korea?

Mr. Pizza is understood because of its cheeky, playful image, and, last year, it circulated a viral movie that parodies Korean tradition through pizza. The short 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 first purchase one, get one free garlic bread promotions of that time period,” the narrator continues to express.

The advertising ended up being praised as a clever send-up of Korean nationalism that additionally poked enjoyable at the odd practice that Koreans often have actually of professing something international as their particular. As an example, in 2009, a federal federal government human body reported that the many Christmas that is globally-recognizable tree 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 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 have been a palette cleanser, because pizza is greasier than many Korean meals, or as 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 visualize it being a desserts instead when compared to a appropriate dinner, which necessitates consuming rice. “Because it is a snack you’ll experiment along with it more,” she claims. “If you merely go, ‘Oh, it is a flatbread with frequently cheese onto it,’ you’ll go various places.”

“i’ve a Dream,” a kitsch restaurant decorated with bric-a-brac, Barbie dolls, and theater paraphernalia, positioned above Gangnam’s labyrinthine subway section, hosts among the city’s more uncommon pizzas. The very nearly solely feminine clients frequently sales the strawberry pizza, a dish that is ultra-sweet the restaurant is flogging for four years. Strawberries function in the dough, because 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 a primary to share by having a pasta dish, claims Yoon Seok, your head cook. Seok believes that the meal is popular in component because, as Korean ladies are recognized to just just take excellent care of these epidermis, they’re probably attracted to your healthy benefits regarding the fresh fresh fruit. Using this logic, Seok introduced a fig and snail pizza—many Korean aesthetic brands function skincare items with snail extracts—hoping it might catch in. It’sn’t.

The strawberry pizza is served with pickles.

Whenever asked why the restaurant is popular with females, he stated that Korean guys, himself included, prefer Korean food. “Women, they decide to try brand brand new things more regularly than guys,” he states. “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 united states. 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, individuals think pizza, pasta, and spaghetti”—foreign meals, simply put—“that’s the women’s food.”

He’s causes it to be a true indicate steadfastly keep up with their clientele. On Sundays, their day down, he attempts restaurants that are new buddies or bikes around the town to look at exactly what eateries are crowded, and just just exactly what styles they can discern. That’s exactly exactly how he discovered that places patbingsoo—a that is serving bean and shaved ice dessert—were attracting a lot of clients. “ we need to put it to use,” 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’m able to obviously state, in Korea, specially ladies, they simply love sweet beans that are red” Kim says.