Hello everyone out there on the interwebz. Welcome to another edition of Mastication Monologues where I have been, as of late, exploring all the new foodstuffs that South Korea has to offer. Today I will be talking about a Far Eastern twist on a Western favorite: pizza. As with many things in the world, pizza has an unusual history in the sense that most people associate the main staple of college students with one country (Italy) when it actually came from a different one (China). Many historical scholars argue that Marco Polo allegedly brought it back from China and introduced it to the Italian peninsula which eventually led to the modern pie being invented in Napoli. Where I come from, Chicago, we have a special affinity for this Italian/Chinese treat which has led us to bump heads with New Yorkers over who has better pizza. Therefore, when I stepped into Pizza Maru in my neighborhood of Seo-gu, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of toppings. I was greeted by different Korean combinations like sweet potatoes and bacon or thin cream shrimp pizza. I went for the latter since it just seemed like a bizzare description, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was made with very thin and crispy crust that supposedly has 12 types of grains, black rice, and green tea. The toppings consisted of grape tomatoes, black olives, shrimp, cheese, oregano, and an alfredo-esque sauce. However, it was different from a typical pizza because it didn’t have tomato sauce but rather some sort of clear sauce that really didn’t taste like anything. It brought down the very flavorful pizza because it made the slices semi-soggy which is not a good attribute to have if your end pieces are nice and crispy. Overall, it was an okay pizza, but I don’t really see it giving European/American pizza a run for its money anytime soon. At least the presentation was a lot nicer than back at home.
A Slice of the East (Pizza Maru)