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Discover 5 of Japan’s Unique Pizzas

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.

1. Shirasu Pizza

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.

2. Mochi Pizza

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.

3. Mentaiko 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.

4. Teriyaki Chicken Pizza

Appearing even on the menus of hamburger chains, teriyaki chicken is famous. The highly popular teriyaki is known around the world for the umami flavor of its thick, rich sauce.

The secret of the umami flavor is the brilliant combination of the saltiness of soy sauce and the sweetness of sugar. The teriyaki chicken which has been coated in this teriyaki sauce and grilled to perfection, is a perfect addition to pizza. The combination in your mouth of the salty-sweet teriyaki sauce and the salty cheese is sheer deliciousness.

5. Kanimiso Pizza

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!

That’s Not All! These Toppings Are Also Common in Japan

There are many unique toppings and flavors which came into being from the ideas of Japanese people’s favorite flavors, such as natto pizza which uses the iconic Japanese fermented food, natto; corn pizza with plenty of the staple Japanese pizza topping, corn; tuna mayo pizza which combines mayonnaise and tuna, and so on.

When you visit Japan, if you see a Japanese-style pizza menu, be sure to give these distinctive Japanese pizza flavors a try at least once. They will surely broaden your ideas of what pizza can be!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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