Nothing gets the stomach juices flowing quite as well as a ring of shrimp with tails dangling in the air and heads swaddled in tubes of cheese-stuffed dough.
My idea of a pizza is rather basic: a flat round of dough covered in tomato sauce, dotted with mozzarella, and topped with a few basil leaves. But in the world of East Asian pizza chain pies, that would be some major weak-sauce pizza. Where are the shrimp, potato, and mayonnaise toppings? Where's the hot-dog-and-cheese-stuffed crust?
During my search for extreme Asian pizzas, I mostly noticed the range of unconventional crusts, ranging from those stuffed with hot dogs to crusts filled with sweet potato mousse. After the jump, check out my list of Top Ten Weird Asian Pizza Crusts, arranged from least weird to most bizarre.
1. Whole Shrimp Cheese Bite (Pizza Hut; Japan, South Korea)
For the pizza lover who also craves shrimp and cheese wrapped in dough, Pizza Hut has created the Whole Shrimp Cheese Bite. Because nothing gets the stomach juices flowing quite as well as a ring of shrimp with tails dangling in the air and heads swaddled in tubes of cheese-stuffed dough.
2. Shrimp and Mayo Roll Crust (Pizza Hut, Japan)
Pizza Hut's Shrimp and Mayo Crust Roll is similar to its Whole Shrimp Cheese Bite except it uses shrimp nuggets instead of whole shrimp and is injected with mayonnaise instead of surrounded by gooey cheese. Think pigs in a blanket reimagined as cheese-oozing shrimp nubs in a blanket.
3. German King: Sausage, Bacon and Cheese Crust (Pizza Hut, Japan)
The crust of the German King is folded over every few inches to encase a ring of sausage atop a layer of bacon. Atop a layer of cheese. The result is a visually appealing pattern of alternating pink sausage and golden crust and a flavor symphony of processed meat, pork, and cheese in every bite.
Website: Mr. Wake
4. Triple Cheese Pizza (Domino's, South Korea)
"How do we get more cheese into our pizza?"
I imagine that someone had to ask that question to prompt the creation of the Triple Cheese Pizza, a stack of three thin crusts, each slathered with a different kind of cheese: cheddar for the bottom layer, Camembert for the middle layer, and emmental for the top layer.
5. Mizza: Rice Crust (Pizza Hut; Taiwan, South Korea)
The Mizza is a healthy take on pizza that replaces the crust with a thick patty of rice. It's like a bowl of rice topped with stuff--except shaped differently.
6. Abalone Sauce Cheesy Lava Stuffed Crust Pizza (Pizza Hut, Hong Kong)
Admittedly it's not the crust on the Abalone Sauce Cheesy Lava Stuffed Crust Pizza that is so mindblowing but the whole package of seafood, abalone sauce, crayfish and crab roe dressing, chicken, and enoki mushrooms--along with the commercial below--that makes this pizza look like the ultimate symbol of today's cosmopolitan woman. ("She could be you!" Unless you're a man.) My favorite part is when the cheese--a combination of mozzarella, Parmesan, and cheddar--oozes out of the crust holes. I think that's how the pizza "breathes."
7. Shrimp Nude; Cream Cheese Mousse-Filled Crust (Mr. Pizza, Korea)
The crust of the uniquely named Shrimp Nude is slightly concave to act as a moat of cream cheese mousse around the spicy Cajun shrimp-topped pizza.
8. Rich Gold; Sweet Potato Mousse-Filled Crust (Pizza Hut, South Korea)
Pizza Hut's Rich Gold looks similar to Mr. Pizza's Shrimp Nude but replaces the cream cheese mousse with sweet potato mousse. It's two carbs in every bite!
9. Sausage Crust, Mochi Crust, and Cheddar Sauce Crust (Strawberry Cones, Japan)
As part of its Spring Season Campaign, Strawberry Cones brings you three kinds of exciting crusts:
Mimi Kururin: Filled with "100% pork sausage."
Mocchi-mo: Made out of balls of mochi (glutinous rice paste).
Even the Crust Is Cheddar Sauce: Has a "sticky cheddar taste."
If the crusts aren't exciting enough for you, each pizza is divided into quadrants to bring you four kinds of topping combinations:
7-Variety Veggie Pizza: asparagus, corn, paprika, parsley, eggplant, zucchini, onions, pizza sauce
5-Variety Cheese Margherita: Camembert, Samsoe, Gouda, Steppen, Parmesan, fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley, pizza sauce
Milakoreno: hamburger, bologna sausage, fresh tomatoes, broccoli, onions, mayo, parsley, pizza sauce
Fluffy Prince and ChikichikiTeri: Charcoal fire-grilled chicken, egg, parsley, mayo, teriyaki sauce
10. Grand Prix: Cookie Crust Pizza Topped with Shrimp and Potato (Mr. Pizza, South Korea)
It doesn't contain shrimp. It doesn't ooze with cheese. It doesn't wrap around a log of meat. But Mr. Pizza's Grand Prix is my pick for the weirdest crust because ... it's made of cookie. A rather healthy sounding cookie that's sprinkled with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and raisins, although, according to Mr. Pizza, it "tastes like European soft cookies!" If this doesn't sound enticing enough, the pizza comes with blueberry dipping sauce to slather the crust in after you're done eating the noncrusty part (which is topped with shrimp and potato--fairly normal for an Asian pizza).
The commercial shows a young female Korean pizza chef confidently making her cookie-crust pizza against some clueless-looking white male chefs.
Many thanks to our multilingual intern, Emily Koh, for helping with the translations. I'd also like to point out that, even though I label these pizzas as "weird," that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to eat them. Hell, I want to try every single one!