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.
Ikasumi is the dark liquid that a squid releases when feeling threatened, but it is also a very popular ingredient in both Italian and Japanese dishes. While Americans may think this is the last thing they would want on their beloved pizza pie, the dark sauce is very appealing to seafood lovers in Japan.
Ikasumi tastes mildly fishy and creates a visually appealing black hue to the pizza. This strange topping is not unique to pizza in Japan. Ikasumi is also frequently used in pasta, squid ink soup and spaghetti.
Kombu Seaweed Pizza
Various seaweeds are a crucial part of every Japanese person’s diet. It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise then that many Japanese pizza pies come topped with Kombu seaweed.
Kombu is a type of bull kelp that is leathery and tough.The tough kelp is cooked and caramelized in a mixture of sake, soy sauce and sugar. Eventually, the kelp darkens and becomes soft and chewy. This seaweed is used as the basis of seasoning for most Japanese meals and is so highly regarded that it is often coined Japan’s “secret ingredient”.
For any of us not native to Japan, Shirako is probably the most unusual food one could imagine utilizing as a pizza topping. Shirako is cod milt or fish sperm that is prepared by steaming, deep-frying or pan-frying.
The finished product has a subtle fishy taste and soft and creamy interior. The Japanese consider Shirako an acquired taste and delicacy similar to escargot or caviar. This popular flavor is often used as a pizza topping because of Japan’s high regard for pizza as a special meal.
Eggs are used in a variety of meals in Japan including on American-style hamburgers and pizzas. Okonomiyaki is a traditional batter made with eggs, flour, water, and a combination of other ingredients like meat, squid, shrimp, cheese or vegetables. The resulting mixture is commonly referred to as “Osaka soul food” or “Japanese pizza”, and it is most commonly prepared like a pancake.
If you order Japanese pizza from a menu, then don’t be surprised if you are given a dish similar to this. In other instances, an egg is cooked atop the pizza and added as a delightful topping as seen in the image above.
Bitter Gourd Pizza
In some places, goya goes by the name bitter gourd or bitter melon – and they definitely got the bitter part of the name right. Goya is quite popular down in Okinawa, and since they have one of the longest life expectancies in the world they must be doing something right when it comes to what they’re eating. For me though, the bitterness is just not right for a pizza – but hey, if you’re game, go for it!