The Best Pizza in ALL of Korea!!!!
Yesterday I went to the Seoul Immigration Office to get my visa renewed, and so, I’m proud to announce that I’ll legally be in the country for 3 more years until I need to renew my visa again. The first time I renewed my visa two years ago, it took 3 seconds. This time, the person kept asking me questions about when my father became a U.S. citizen because I guess if it was after I was born, I’d be a Korean citizen, and thus eligible for military service. So it took about 3 minutes this time. I explained in Korean about my situation, and she basically waived it through. And that’s how people should work in these government agencies. Be as thorough as necessary, but get the job done quickly. In other government offices, I’ve been told to go to this floor and talk to this department, then after that they tell me to go to a different office, whereupon the person in that office tells me to go back to the first. I’ve heard other people complain about their troubles at the immigration office, but for me, it’s been relatively painless. After renewing the visa I decided to take the missus out for pizza, as we were close to the best pizza place in all of Korea.
They have this place in America and other countries too. It’s relatively cheap, made fresh, and is mega-delicious. Sometimes they put too much cheese on it, but that’s not too much of a problem, because cheese is also quite delicious. In addition to pizza, they also have a lot of other things to eat too, such as hot dogs, clam chowder and some calzone like things that they call chicken bake and bulgogi bake. (I’m not really sure how to describe it.)
I wouldn’t reccomend going there every day, because after a month you’d have gained 10 pounds. (I think, I’ve been here so long that I wanted to say 5 kilos, but 11.02 pounds doesn’t flow off the tongue as nicely as 10 pounds.)
So where is this wonderful place in Korea that we can all go to to get some good pizza?
Wait a second, COSTCO? Really? COSTCO?!?!?!??!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
No no, wait a second, let me explain!
You see, when I lived in the U.S., I never even thought I’d even think of eating anything at COSTCO. And why should I? We’ve got plenty of other places to get good pizza. I can name a few right off the top of my head that you can easily find in almost any American city. Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa Johns, Pizza Movers… heck, I even worked a pizza shop part time when I was younger and even though I eventually became sick of their pizza, I probably would opt to eat there rather than at COSTCO. You see, COSTCO is where you go to buy things in bulk. And it definitely lacks any kind of atmosphere for eating. I’d argue that even McDonald’s is romantic compared to COSTCO.
You’re telling us why COSTCO is so terrible, why do you go there for pizza, especially when all those chains you mentioned actually have stores in Korea?
Okay, you got me there. It’s true, we do have Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, and Domino’s here. But.. they’re just.. different.
Come on, they are chains, how could they be different?
Okay see there’s where you’re wrong. Certainly the names are chains in the U.S., but I am pretty sure that in Korea they aren’t operated by the same company. Basically some Korean food company buys the name and sells their product under that name. Either that, or they are run by the same company, but have a local office determine their menu for local tastes…. COSTCO seems to not take that approach and just serve the same thing as they do in the U.S. The pizza chains are just… not the same…
So how are they not the same?
Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you, the sweet potato. In America we eat the sweet potato in a pie as a desert in thanksgiving. I can’t really remember any other time I’ve eaten it before coming to Korea. Well, ladies and gentlemen, believe it or not, sweet potato is Korea’s pepperoni. What I mean is that in America, pepperoni is iconic as a pizza condiment. In Korea, the sweet potato is, even moreso than pepperoni. I personally don’t like it, and it’s okay if that’s what other people want, but it’s not for me. I now direct you to pizza hut’s menu. Take a look and see for yourself what kinds of toppings they offer on pizza. Cream Chicken, coconut shrimp, bulgogi onion, bbq chicken, bacon potato. I see they’ve added a pepperoni pizza so that’s reassuring, but it wasn’t there before.
Don’t get me wrong, they had pepperoni, but you could only get it if you agreed to 4 other toppings that you didn’t want, and never in combinations that they don’t have in their menu.
Why don’t you just call them and ask them to make you a pizza how you want it?
Sigh. See that’s the problem. If I were to call and ask for a pizza with pepperoni and onions and olives on it, they would reply that they don’t have that. I’ve literally had this conversation before:
Pizza Hut: Hello Pizza Hut, how may I help you?
Me: Yes, I’d like to order a pizza please.
PH: Okay what’s your address?
Me: It’s XX-Gu XX-Dong, XX-block, XX building, XX apartment.
PH: Okay and what kind of pizza would you like
Me: Well, I’d like a pepperoni and onion pizza, half with olives, half without. (so far it’s normal, right? Read on..)
PH: Huh, what? That’s not on the menu sir.
Me: Yea, I noticed, but can’t you just make it that way?
PH: Well what do you mean?
Me: You know, just make it, make a pizza, then put those things on it, then cook it.
PH: But, that’s not how we do it.
Me: What do you mean?
PH: Well, there’s just what we have on the menu and we can make that.
Me: Okay, well if you can make that, can’t you make this too?
PH: No because that’s not how it comes.
Me: Well you have cheese pizza right?
Me: Well can you make that, but put extra toppings on there?
PH: Hmm, I never thought of it that way.. let me ask my manager.
wait wait wait
PH: No, I’m sorry sir, we can only serve pizzas that are on the menu.
Me: Well can you give me something close to what I want?
PH: Well, onions are on the veggie pizza, and pepperoni is on the pepperoni sweet potato shrimp pizza, and we don’t have olives. Which would you like?
Me: Um, what are the veggies on the veggie pizza.
PH: Asparagus, Broccoli, lettuce, onions and green peppers.
Me: Ur, yes, can I just have a cheese pizza please?
PH: So, what kind of sauce did you want on that?
I’m guessing then that the store that heats and delivers the pizza must be different from the store that assembles it. That can probably be the only reason why a customer can’t choose something that isn’t on the menu.
Hmm, and COSTCO?
Well, COSTCO has pizza that is just… normal. Okay I have to admit, my idea of pizza is what I have grown up eating in the U.S. I acknowledge that this American style pizza is probably not very authentic to pizza you can eat in Italy. I’ve actually never been to Italy to tell you the truth. So, in essence I could be complaining that my bastardization of pizza is better than someone else’s bastardization of pizza. I realize that this is 100% my own opinion, and there may actually be millions of people who like mayonnaise yogurt asparagus pizza.
And so my followers, all over the world, I’d like to know what kinds of things they put on pizza where you are. I know for a fact from living in Japan that the Japanese too have strange toppings on pizza, such as oysters on the half shell, spam, and furikake. I can’t imagine it getting much worse than what I see here, but I’ll probably be going to COSTCO whenever I really crave pizza unless someone can show me a Korean pizza shop that matches my tastes. So far, I haven’t found it. I think I’ll make this a reader mission, so anyone who reads, please tell me what you like or don’t like about pizza where you are.
Speaking of COSTCO, besides the eatery, everything seems to be a bit overpriced. After the KOR-US FTA, gets passed, it’s very possible that almost everything in COSTCO will become affordable.
Meanwhile consumers in the US will have better options when buying high end electronics and automobiles, as Korea excels in manufacture of those products..