Pizza is our go-to food on the road, our favorite is New York-style. And when we return from a trip it’s usually the first meal we eat. On our year-long journey we tried pizza on six continents, including at its birthplace in Naples, to seek the best pizza in the world. But what surprised us most was where we found the best pizza, and the worst.
Pizza in Asia
Paisanos in Hong Kong served up pizza that was very close to New York style.
We hadn’t expected to see pizza in North Korea. But our guides kept referring to their own version of Pizza Hut. While it was a bit undercooked, it wasn’t bad for pizza in, well, North Korea. (Photo courtesy Russell Ng)
The owner of Pulcinella da Stefano in Chiang Mai, Thailand hails from Italy so his pizza was almost Neopolitan in style.
A pineapple and banana dessert pizza in Bali. What a great idea!
We were surprised to find an upscale Italian restaurant in Hanoi, complete with marble columns and tuxedo-clad waiters. This being Vietnam though, it was still really cheap.
Pizza in Cambodia? Why not, we even ate an authentic Philly cheesesteak there.
Pizza in the Middle East
In the Middle East we ate authentic pizza along with an Arabic version that while not pizza, sure had a lot in common with it.
No one affiliated with this restaurant in Dubai was Italian, but they put out a pretty good product.
In the Arab market in Jerusalem we tried zatar flatbread. It was ‘pizza-ish” enough to be included here. Also, we really liked it.
We almost walked right past this pizzeria in Tel Aviv because we thought it was a Dominos. But look closely at the logo, it’s Pizza Domino and no relation to the American chain. It may be the closest we came to authentic New York style pizza.
Pizza in Africa
We don’t surprise easily but were gobsmacked to come across a pizzeria in Swakopmund, Namibia. It was pretty good too.
Pizza in Italy
Many people have a love/hate relationship with authentic Neopolitan pizza. The type served in Naples is different than what many expect. (Particularly if they were weaned on New York-style since childhood.) It turns out that authentic Neopolitan pizza is kind of soupier than expected. Some say it’s due to using fresh buffalo mozzarella. Either way, it takes some getting used to.
A plain pizza in Naples, a bit soupy for our taste.
Larissa’s favorite topping, fresh arugula or rocket.
This is what happens when a self-proclaimed world traveler can’t admit that he doesn’t speak his grandparents language and orders a pizza that he thinks comes with potato slices on it.
Pizza in Australia and New Zealand
Sal’s in Auckland, New Zealand boasted of authentic New York style pizza. It came pretty close, even with Wisconsin mozzarella.
Craig from Stone Bridge Wines in Clare Valley, Australia manages to serve up delicious wood fired pizza and award-winning wines. This was the runner-up for best pizza.
The pizza from Embers Wood Fired in Gooseberry Hill outside Perth, Australia. Although no one working at the place seemed to be over the age of 12, the pizza was the best of our entire trip. This is the Pizza Siciliana with fresh ricotta, cacciatore sausage & marinated eggplant. That’s right, our top two pizzas were both from Australia. What an upside down world we live in.
The worst pizza we had
Buenos Aires is known for being half-Italian (just like Michael) so we were disappointed in this gooey mess. Three fist-sized hunks of mozzarella were placed in the center of the pie before going into the oven. Since they’re too big to melt properly, the chef just smears them around the pie after it’s baked where it turns into a gelatinous clump.
PS: The pizza in the photo at the top of this post is the first one we ate after we returned. It’s from Nick’s in Rockville Centre, New York, where the motto is “no slices.” It was also one of our faves.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at finding the best pizza in the world in Australia. We may have found the best gelato in the world in New Zealand, where it’s made by a mad scientist from Italy.
What type of pizza do you like? Do you eat pizza with your hands or a knife and fork? To us, a knife and fork for pizza is just plain wrong.