The humble pizza pie is humble no more. The standard Neapolitan “Margherita” pizza (tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and hunks of basil) has undergone many permutations in it’s trans-oceanic travels.
The pizza really took hold in North America, for it’s simplicity and taste. But once the recipe was taken out of the hands of ex-pats, different toppings and crusts started making their way into North American pies. All of a sudden the “greasy wheel” was adorned with olives, pineapple, onions, bacon, sausage, peppers, pepperoni, hamburger, and all manner of fairly safe (and in some cases delicious) toppings.
Big name chefs, like Wolfgang Puck, also joined the pizza making fray and took the pizza to gastronomic heights never seen before. At Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bars around the U.S. you can order sweet fennel sausage pizza, or roasted mushroom pizza, and even smoked salmon pizza.
Those exotic ingredients are but a few of the things that chefs and pizza chains have felt would taste good. But what happens when pizza purveyors go way off board? Well, here are 13 pizza toppings that are either just plain bizarre, disgusting, or both.
13. Corned Beef and Cabbage
Faith and Begorra! Corned beef and cabbage! On a pizza! The St. Pat’s Day staple is quite good, all on it’s own with a little mustard, but on pizza? The Colony Grill in Stamford, Connecticut, is known as a really good pizza joint in the east coast state. But, they take things just a bit on goofy side with the Corned Beef and Cabbage. We wonder if leprechauns toss the dough?
12. Mini Hot Dogs and Mustard Pizza
Pizza Hut is a world pizza-making giant, with over 11,000 restaurants in places as diverse as Islamabad, Pakistan to Angeles City, Philippines. Browse the internet and you’re sure to find many different takes on the Pizza Hut pie, but none more bizarre than in the UK. It seems someone figured that a hot dog and mustard would be a special treat, so in Great Britain you can get the tube steak baked into the crust, with mustard drizzle. Blimey!
11. Banana Curry Pizza
If we had to go with a Swedish variation of pizza, the meatball pie would probably be yummy. However, the land of pickled herring is known for creating pizzas that defy the simple slice of pepperoni. One enterprising chef came up with a combination so bizarre, it might just taste good? He combined bananas and curry, on the same pizza. Say it again after us, bananas and curry on pizza. Only in Stockholm, we presume.
10. Blackberry & Fennel
Truly exotic and quixotic pizza can be consumed at any California Pizza Kitchen. The upscale pizza joint has taken the hippy sensibilities of Californians and offers some really interesting takes. You can get an California Club pizza on gluten free crust with avocados and romaine lettuce for one. We’re willing to bet even they haven’t thought of the Blackberry and Fennel Pizza. The simple berry and the licorice-like plant might go together on something else, but on pizza? Far out, man.
No one should ever, we repeat ever, put pickles on a pizza. Put them on your Chicago dog or cheeseburger, but for the love of Little Caesar, no pickles. Kiwis in New Zealand love to put sweet little gherkins on their pie, which is disturbing. Gherkins don’t really go with much, and better eaten alone or as accompaniment to a sandwich. A good pisser would be needed to down a slice with gherkins on it.
8. Salmon Roe Cream Stuffed Crust
From the minds of Pizza Hut franchisees in the land of the rising sun, Japan, comes the salmon roe cream stuffed crust pizza, with shrimp topping. The shrimp, we can buy, but salmon cream baked into a crust sounds gross. Biting into the crust and having fish flavoured good run down your chin would not be the most graceful thing in the world. Banzai!
7. Anchovies and Sambal Oelek
Pizza Hut purveyors in Asia push the boundaries on pizza, none more so than those in Malaysia. Folks there love food spicy, and that is completely cool. However, combining anchovies — which were a thing on pizza a half-decade ago — with fiery sambal just kooky. Sambal is great with just about anything else like fish and fried chicken. On a pizza, with anchovies, just dangerous.
6. Cashews and Cream Cheese
No, this one isn’t from southeast Asia. Rather, it’s from the wild west in Greeley, Colorado. The Roma Restaurant came up with the rather odd pairing of cashews and cream cheese and even call it “A Nutty Idea.” We have to agree. Any kind of nuts on a pizza is just wrong and cream cheese just harkens to the Japanese version referenced above. I guess there really was a reason they legalized marijuana in Colorado.
5. English Breakfast Pizza
The website “Instructables” is a helpful kind of co-operative that allows users to give other users tips on how to do just anything. One pizza lover went so far as to share a completely bizarre pizza that combines the sauce and crust, with a full English breakfast. Not just part of it, like the bacon and the sausages — which are completely fine — but the whole enchilada, including eggs, baked beans, and potatoes. It might just taste good, but the napkins!
4. Cauliflower Crust Pizza
We get the whole gluten free movement and the requirements for certain people to eliminate consuming bleached white flour. But cauliflower? Ick! A very nice lady, Beth, from Tennessee has a blog called ‘Eat. Drink. Smile.’ which is well-written and full of helpful tips about dining in Nashville, recipes and the like. But, the southern belle crosses the Mason-Dixon line with the cauliflower crust pizza. And let’s face it, no one likes cauliflower. Not in the pizza, on it, or as part of the crust.
3. Guinea Pig
This is a cute, furry household pet, people! Not a topping for pizza! Well, it is in Ecuador, where the hirsute rodents are considered a delicacy. The Secret Garden Cotopaxi in the South American country cooks the little critters and then chops up the meat to add to a sauce, cheese and corn (!) pizza baked in a pan in a wood fired oven. The view from the restaurant is supposed to be spectacular, that’s all that can be said about that.
The cicada is a very melodic bug, home to most of North America. On a humid summer night in Maryland, their sound is unmistakable. Being fairly large, they are a favourite predation for birds and squirrels. Someone in the midwest, though, thought it would be a great idea to put the singing bugs on a pizza. Yes, consumption of crunchy bugs has been a culinary thing, lately, but couldn’t they just leave them off the pie? We won’t look at a bug the same way again.
1. Squid Ink
Get too close to a cephalopod in the ocean and it will jet a black viscous cloud of goo at you to keep you at bay. Other than that, the vividly colored fluid can be used in the manufacture of colorants, or as a dietary additive to ward off cancer (antioxidant) or boost iron levels in the body. Somehow, some way, the black goop made it’s way onto a pizza. And some places even add white marshmallows to offset the dark color! The ink is the base for the sauce, which is just wrong.