That is indeed the question when living in Japan.
Back in South Africa I do enjoy the occasional pizza. I especially enjoy those freshly-made, wood-fired, deliciously crafted pizzas that come with a variety of local toppings, such as with biltong, smoked salmon, springbok carpaccio and roasted butternut. Not all on the same pizza, mind you, but these are some of the toppings that one can get.
So I was excited to learn that I could still get my dose of pizza cravings while here in Japan, and what made it even easier is that I could order online. Thanks to my predecessor who showed me the ropes, with just a few simple clicks I could order a pizza and the next thing it would be delivered to my door. This was quite a novel thing for me because we cannot order pizzas online from our favourite restaurant back home as we have to phone in, place our order, and then go fetch it ourselves as they don’t deliver.
But, I digress.
I felt the need to share my pizza experiences here in Japan, and I cannot help but compare them to those back in South Africa.
Let’s take a look at example number 1 below. This is a margherita pizza ordered from the local fast food pizza restaurant down the road from my apartment here:
It does have the taste of a typical margherita pizza, albeit greasy as heck and almost impossible to eat without everything sliding off in one swift movement.
Now let me turn your attention to this pizza, my favourite back home, a banana and bacon pizza from the local farmstall restaurant:
I know that comparing the two is a bit unfair as the Japanese one is from a fast-food/quick delivery place, while the South African one is a slow-cooked, take-your-time-while-enjoying-an-ice-cold-beer type of place. But it is hard not to compare (especially when missing the latter).
The pizzas here are nothing special to write home about (but definitely blog worthy), yet still you pay an arm and a leg for one. This particular medium-sized margherita cost me about R150 (¥1500)! Which is why I only order pizza when I’m really, really desperate and have absolutely no food in my place (which happens only every 2 or 3 months).
Though on an experimental note, the pizza place here does offer some really strange concoctions that I would never think to add to a pizza. So when I recently placed an order (which was, ahem, last night) I also included on my order their new special ‘3-slice dessert’ pizza with chocolate and marshmallows.
So that definitely fixed my sweet craving for the next few weeks. But I doubt I would order another one again as it is a bit strange eating a ‘sweet’ pizza.
I have tried a pizza from a proper pizza restaurant here in Onomichi (wood-fired and all) and I must say it was quite delicious. However, apart from the exorbitant prices, they drizzle red pepper oil over the pizza before serving, making it incredibly slippery and greasy, which isn’t to my taste. Though I must add that this is merely my experience of pizzas so far in Japan, I am sure there must be some really good places out there that are worth the price. Somewhere… maybe… hopefully…
But to sum up my experiences so far of Japanese pizzas: Give me a good ol’ South African pizza any day thank-you very much! 😉