Foodie guide: Pizza around the world

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From the classic Neapolitan to the hipster-happy California-style pies, here’s a look at local takes on pizza around the world.

There’s no doubt that pizza is an international phenomenon. Sure, the Italian-inspired pies are always made of dough topped with sauce, cheese, and maybe a dash of veggies or meat, but cultures around the world have spun these simple ingredients into tasty reflections of their local culinary traditions.

From the classic Neapolitan to the hipster-happy California-style pies, here’s a look at local takes on pizza around the world.

Neapolitan pizza (Image: Leandro's World Tour)
Neapolitan pizza (Image: Leandro’s World Tour)

Naples: Naples is considered the birthplace of pizza as we know it, and Neapolitan-style pizzas are defined by their bubbly wheat flour crusts topped with tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella.

Rome: Where Neapolitan pizza sports a charred and bubbly crust, its rival Roman-style pizza keeps the crust thin and crispy. Toppings are usually tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil and anchovies.

New York-style pizza (Image: SimonDoggett)
New York-style pizza (Image: SimonDoggett)

New York: The classic New York-style pizza is large, flat, thin-crusted and usually topped with marinara, cheese and pepperoni. To eat like a local, fold your New York-style slice before digging in.

Chicago-style pizza (Image: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar)
Chicago-style pizza (Image: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar)

Chicago: Also known as the deep dish pie, Chicago-style pizzas are the antithesis of New York’s flat slices. Chicago-style pizzas are cooked in round pans that create a two- to three-inch pie with thick layers of gooey cheese, tomato sauce, meats and veggies.

Sicilian: Sicily’s pizzas are better known as sfincione. Sicilian pies differ from traditional Italian versions because of their thick crusts and rectangular shape. Traditionally, sfincione is topped with onions, tomatoes, strong cheese, herbs and anchovies.

Mexican pizza (Image: theresac used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)
Mexican pizza (Image: theresac used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Mexican: Mexican-style pizza is topped with local ingredients like jalapeños, bell peppers, chorizo, hominy, beef, shrimp or avocado. Oaxaca cheese is often used instead of mozzarella.

Lebanon: The Lebanese lahm bi ajeen is a flat meat pie similar to a pizza. Mediterranean flatbread is topped with ground beef or lamb mixed with tomatoes, onions and spices.

Brazil: Brazilian pizza draws heavily from the dish’s Italian roots, and you’ll find Neapolitan and Roman styles both well-represented in the country. Brazilian pizza differs, though, in that it uses less sauce or substitutes tomato slices for sauce entirely.

Greek: Authentic Greek pizzas are baked in shallow pans rather than directly on a brick pizza oven. Greek pizzas have chewy crusts, basil-heavy sauce and toppings like feta cheese or black olives.

Gourmet pizza (Image: avlxyz used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)
Gourmet pizza (Image: avlxyz used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

California: Also known as gourmet pizza or hipster pizza, California-style pizza refers to the fancy toppings you’d expect from a trendy restaurant in LA or San Francisco. This style of pizza is topped with creative toppings like arugula, figs, smoked salmon or capers, to name a few.

(Main image: Navin75 used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Foodie guide: Pizza around the world was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Marissa Willman
Author: Marissa Willman (786 posts)

Marissa Willman earned a bachelor's degree in journalism before downsizing her life into two suitcases for a teaching gig in South Korea. Seoul was her home base for two years of wanderlusting throughout six countries in Asia. In 2011, Marissa swapped teaching for travel writing and now calls Southern California home.