There are few things on earth as satisfying as a gorgeous slice of gourmet pizza. Thick Chicago style pan pizza crusts, or thin, flexible New York style pizzas, topped with mushroom, jalapenos and pineapple, and some good, melting goat cheese. Or stuffed-pizzas; with spinach, artichoke and cheese on them. Or caramelized onions, eggplants and wild mushrooms. Ah! Paradise for the average graduate student or techie! Romio’s pizza, California Pizza kitchen or even the more modest Pagliacci have satisfied this hungry gourmand’s life on many an occasion, while free pizza around campus (crappy, greasy but cheesy and satisfying) have come to the rescue on other, more urgent times.
The pizza has come a long way from little eateries in Naples, from being a gift for King Umberto and Queen Margherita, across the Atlantic, to becoming perhaps the most adapted dish of all time. Take a crust, top it with just about any thing, and enjoy the wholesome goodness on it.
But there’s always been a small hole in this almost perfect life of mine. I’ve searched far and wide, but have found only a few choices for good, quality pizza with Asian toppings.
There’s Can-Am pizza, with one or two pizzas with paneer on them, that folks up in Microsoft love, but that’s about it. But what do I do if the stomach craves a paneer jalfrezi pizza? Or a perfectly respectable aloo-saag pizza? How about some wholesome, south Indian pizza masaala? What if I desire some tofu-teriyaki on my crust? I’m sure my wasabi crazy Japanese-American former roommate would love to see a sashimi-wasabi topping. Or how about some Thai specials. I can imagine piping-hot pizza phad thai, or red-curry pizza. Or some delightful Malaysian specials, which we can call panang pizza, or pizza kanai, how about that? And why isn’t there any pizza with kim chi on it?
Here is a huge market, waiting to be tapped. The desi population in the States is over 2 million, and I’m sure my fellow curry-lovers would spend lavishly on these. There are a few million Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean and all other hues of Asians all over the place. There must be millions of my fellow Asian peeps out there who crave for this stuff.
It’s time for a pizza-revolution. Goodbye, Papa John’s. I know what I’ll invest in for a future business.
Kozmo Kramer (Seinfeld), circa 1995:
"...It's a pizza place where you make your own pie! We give you the dough, the sauce, the cheese...you pound it, slap it, you flip it up into the air...you put your toppings on and you slide it into the oven! Sounds good, huh?...."
I'll certainly try the Pad Thai Pie - chicago style!!
You have an investor here Sunil....sounds yummy...time someone goes beyond indian toppings = paneer
am sure there is a market for this in India too... we already have jain pizzas and the stuff udipi joints serve as pizza has to be seen (seen coz I have never had the guts to taste them yet) to be believed!
Do you think there can be a pizza variety for the bongs. Fish-pizza?
Excellent stuff, Sunil.
What would you call your pizza joint?
Mogolov.....Kosom rules, always! I saw him once (the actor, i mean), near the space needle!
Apu......i'll make you a partner. You put in the money, and i'll make the establishment. Fair deal. Yes, we direly need to go beyond paneer :-)
Charu.....actually, that stuff tastes good. Not what you're used to, but good!
Yup...territorialmale, there should be a fish pizza specially for the bongs and mallus. Hilsa/Salmon special.....:-)
Vikram.....help! i was never good with names.....but you certainly can help. Asia pizza is a definite no-no....
Some time ago, I ate a `veggie pizza' in Berkeley, and never thought of a Desi Pizza after that. It was something like a Naan with stuff on top. If you make pizza like that, you've lost one customer already!
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Asian style pizza. Hmm. I could be interesting or it could be awful. Need to product-test this quite a bit. You don't want to be another Plaza Dosa - the home of the 100 vomit-inducing flavors of dosai.
Following Vikram's idea, I have my title for your restaurant: Sunil's not quite authentic Italian Pizza. The slogan: the name's a mouthful and so is my pizza! :-)
the proof of a pizza is in the crust....as a wise man just said.
My pizzas will remain out of the top drawer michael, Vishnu. Have no fears. Delicious pan-crusts or thin, delectable ones, topped with a great choice of cheese (or cottage cheese, or tofu, if required). Sunil's Asian Pizzeria will rule!
Even though pizzas are quite popular in India, we don't see many of the Indian varieties you mentioned. Maybe we do get them in a couple of places, most of them just suck.
I like the pizza they make in Pizza Hut (Kolkata) far more than the pizzas Pizza Hut makes in the US. They are tailored to the Indian palate and seem fresher.
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