Italy is where it all started. Its name originated from the Latin word, “pinsa,” meaning flatbread. Flatbread is common all throughout the Mediterranean. Tomatoes became popular in Italy around the 18th and 19th centuries. Legend has it that traditional Margarita pizza was named after Queen Margherita, who visited Naples in 1889. The pizza was color-schemed after the new Italian flag, with red tomatoes, white mozzerella and green basil. Today, each regional has their own styles of making pizza. For instance, in Sicily, they make pizza with green olives, seafood and peas. The Four Cheese Pizza, Quattro Formagi, is common all throughout the country.
French pizza is similar to Italian. The French put a lot of emphasis on their cheeses, so expect the cheese to be pretty intense. If you go to a fancy place in southern France, they’ll put on locally made cheeses and sauces in custom-made ovens. Very gourmet!
Israeli pizza is very doughy. Around Passover, people make pizza on matzo bread. Common toppings are tuna and corn. It is hard to find a place that sells meat on pizza because of the kosher laws, in which you cannot mix milk and meat. However, places do exist, and there will be signs stating their unkosherness all over the store front. Sometimes they have pizza with mozzerella cheese on it already and put goat cheese on top of that.
Pizza varies in the United States. The best pizza is around New York City, in the greater metropolitan area that extends to the suburbs in New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut. There are many Italian immigrants in the greater New York area. Even pizza in Philadelphia, two hours away, does not compare. In Chicago, people are into doughy deep-dish pizza. Places all over the country claim to imitate “New York Style Pizza”; some even go as far as importing tap water from NYC! Common toppings in America include sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and peppers.
Japanese people love fish. They put fish all over their pizzas, such as anchovies, shrimp and salmon. Sausage and pepperoni aren’t as common. Hard boiled eggs are also becoming more common.
Korean pizza is often served in a cone. They have the cheese, sauce and everything else wrapped up like an ice cream cone. Makes it easy for eating it like a fast food.
As in much of the Middle East, people in Kuwait are Muslims so they can’t eat pork. They will put on shwarma meat, which is chicken, beef or lamb. Sometimes pizza vendors in Kuwait have started Shwarma Pizza, which includes shwarma meat with hummus and pickles. Not very authentic!