Pizza is a food that is loved around the world. It has its origins in Italy, but that isn’t stopping Japan from creating its own unique varieties, and there are plenty of Japanese pizza menus that make use of Japanese-style ingredients and seasonings. This article will introduce some well-known Japanese-style pizzas.
For Japanese people, shirasu is a popular food. It is the name of a type of young sardine (by the way, young sardines that have been boiled in salty water and then dried are called “chirimen jako”). Packed with calcium, it is often eaten with rice.
Fresh shirasu taken from the nearby ocean and immediately boiled, called “kamaage shirasu,” is heartily put onto the pizza. The soft, plump shirasu is an excellent match for the crisply baked dough and rich cheese. The more you chew, the more the umami flavor of the shirasu spreads in your mouth. It also makes the perfect accompaniment to alcohol.
Mochi can be considered a “soul food” for Japanese people. It is a food made of glutinous rice that has been steamed until sticky, and is a power food that contains carbohydrates, protein and vitamin B1.
Mochi pizza which uses this mochi as the dough is irresistible. It is crisp on the outside, fragrant, and has a more soft and sticky mouthfeel than wheat pizza dough. By combining it with vegetables and cheese, this pizza topping has a perfect nutrition score. It’s a masterpiece, and is also a gluten free pizza option for people with wheat allergies that can’t normally eat pizza.
Similar to shirasu, mentaiko is a popular accompaniment to rice in Japan. Mentaiko is a spicy food made from pollack roe that has been pickled using a brine in which chili pepper is the main ingredient. Mentaiko, which originated from Korean cuisine, is even famous as a souvenir in Fukuoka. It is even used as a popular ingredient in Japanese snack food flavorings, sauces for pasta dishes, and so on.
Mentaiko as a pizza topping tastes great with mellow toppings such as cheese and potato, as the mentaiko gives it a spicy kick. You can’t see it on the pizza in the photo, but mentaiko pizza with shredded nori sprinkled on top is also very common.
Kanimiso (the mid-gut gland part of a crab) is where the umami flavor of the crab is concentrated. Paired with white sauce, Kanimiso pizza is one of the recommended Japanese-style pizzas with a deep mature flavor. The flavor of crab, the unique bitter flavor of kanimiso, and the consistency of the crab meat topping is a match made in heaven!
Natto (Fermented Soybeans)
Natto, or fermented soybeans, is a classic, traditional Japanese health food that has a distinct texture and flavor.
It has a sticky, slimy texture, and a very unique smell – but don’t be put off by that! Once you get into it, you’ll be hooked on its flavor. And, surprisingly, it matches really well with cheese!
Bamboo shoots are commonly used in many dishes, especially in the fall. They have a satisfying crunch when you bite into them, so they might be an exciting addition to your pizza!
Paired with other typical fall ingredients like mushrooms, you can’t go wrong with this flavor combination.
To be continued…