The increasing presence of international pizza delivery companies — Dominoes, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut to name a few — has significantly diminished the availability of truly authentic pizza in the United States. While the chains do deliver a consistent — if somewhat bland and non-crispy — product, true pizza aficionados will always hunger for the real thing. Here are a few of the ones they truly love to sample:
Margherita (Italy): The topping is simply tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese but these two ingredients bring plenty to the taste party. The key is getting the crust just right so that it remains crusty while the two simple ingredients meld into a single gooey topping. If a pizzeria can get this simple formulation right, it can easily make any other type of pizza.
Marinara (Italy): Technically from the country of Italy, this pizza actually derives from the southern island of Sicily, which has a distinctly different sense of cuisine than the mainland part of the country. In particular, this pizza combines the best of the land and the sea. Great dough made form semolina wheat, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella plus the harvest of the sea including, shrimp, mussels, tuna, calamari and crab meat.
Maltija (Malta): In addition to a great tomato sauce, Maltese chefs like to include goat cheese instead of mozzarella as well as sun dried tomatoes, the renowned Maltese sausage and onions. The result is a pizza that is a little heavier than the ones from Italy but also a lot more fortifying in cold weather or while traveling. Also, the crust and the ingredients of this pizza are cooked simultaneously which leads to a slightly different — although still delicious — texture in the finished product.
Hawaiian (United States): If a sweet pizza is more to your taste than a savory one, then Hawaiian pizza is definitely the way to go. In addition to the standard red “gravy” and buffalo mozzarella, ham and pineapple are added to the mix. For many, this pizza is an acquired taste as it breaks many of the standard culinary boundaries that have defined pizza over the last two millennia. Nevertheless, the pie is quite tasty on a Sunday afternoon while watching a football game — and dessert is included!
Kebab (Sweden): The standard base of mozzarella and tomato sauce is augmented with onions, pepperoncini and doner kebab — lamb, beef or chicken kept cooking for hours on a slow broil. The result is topped off with a special kebab sauce that incorporates yogurt and a whole host of Mediterranean spices.
Mexicana (Mexico): As one might imagine, the Mexican people prefer their pizza with a little bit of spice. In addition to the usual tomato sauce and mozzarella — queso fresci is sometimes substituted — minced beef, jalapeños, sweet corn, onion, pico de gallo and any other hot spices that can be brought to bear are included. All in all, this is the “hottest” pizza to be found on the list. A more modern version brings the Thai spice sriracha to the party, but be careful as it is quite hot and not to every one’s taste.
Sushi (Japan): Admittedly, this unusual pizza is not to everyone’s taste but the many in Japan find it irresistible. Toppings include a ubiquitous mayonnaise sauce, sweet corn kernels, fried or boiled potatoes, sliced avocado as well as any number of maritime products such as eel and fish. Even honey and chocolate can be found on a large number of Japanese-inspired pizzas.