Pineapple on a pizza? Perhaps

Does pineapple go on a pizza? This is probably one of the most debated issues in the food world. Even famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay have weighed in on this tropical topic. The Hell’s Kitchen head honcho’s answer was not surprising but does it really matter?

It boils down to preference. If you don’t like it, then don’t eat it. If you do, then enjoy every bite of it. Why does it have to be one or the other? Pizza has evolved in recent years and purists might get the shock of their lives when they learn what chefs have putting on pizzas. The fiber-rich and juicy yellow fruit is the least of their worries.

Personally, I don’t mind pineapple on a pizza. I grew up eating Hawaiian pizza because there’s not a lot of varieties back then. And having that bright sweetness cutting through the savory flavors of a greasy pie is actually quite refreshing.

Again, it’s all about choice.

SB Lava pizza topped with burrata mozzarella (photo by author)
Refreshing Lava pizza topped with burrata mozzarella or fresh mozzarella

So when I brought up this issue to Hakim Haouchine, the head of international business development of Pizza Express, he actually recalled that the brand had one point put pineapple on a pizza.

“We had a campaign last year called ‘Hawaiian Not.’ Instead of putting ham we put prosciutto and instead of fresh pineapple we put pineapple-ginger-chili chutney. It turned out to be a lovely pizza. It was just a campaign as joke against having pineapple on pizza,” he said.

It was technically chutney and not fresh pineapples. I would have loved to taste that.

Founded by Peter Boizot in 1965, Pizza Express is a successful casual dining pizza restaurant from the United Kingdom (UK). The brand recently opened its first shop here in Manila. Known for its “inspired Italian” cuisine, the pizza parlor also loves to innovate when it comes to pizza flavors.

SB Pizza Express' modern interior (photo by author)
Each Pizza Express branch in the world are unique in design.

Apart from the classic flavors like margherita, they’d like to put a twist on the Italian savory pie. One flavor for instance is called “American Hottest,” a pizza that has four kinds of hot spice—fresh red and green chilies, jalapeno, and Italian spicy sausage paste. It’s on a tomato sauce base also topped with pepperoni, mozzarella, and finished with fresh mozzarella.

They also have unique pizza flavors depending on its location. In Hong Kong and China, they have the Peking duck pizza while in Singapore, a chili crab pizza.

“We do it in a very quirky way. We don’t take the chili crab and just dump it on the pizza. We try to tick two boxes: 1) for a local person who will eat the pizza and will remind him of the flavors of the dish; 2) someone who doesn’t know the dish but will say, ‘That’s a nice pizza’. You need to hit both boxes for it to work,” he explained.

He also said that once the brand is settled in the Philippines, they will make a Filipino pizza. Adobo? Sinigang? Kare-kare? Dinuguan? Pininyahang manok? Oh, the possibilities.

SB Seafood pasta in tomato sauce (photo by author)
Seafood pasta in tomato sauce

However, Pizza Express doesn’t only serve pizza but some tasty dishes as well. The mozzarella tomato salad is a refreshing take on the classic Italian caprese antipasto. Another is the baked dough balls (it’s exactly what it is) served with three dips, pesto, garlic butter, and marinara. Then there’s the seafood pasta, a generous serving of spaghetti noodles coated with a tomato based sauce with huge chunks of seafood like prawns, squid, and mussels.

PIZZA EXPRESS
Location: Upper ground floor, Uptown Place Mall BGC, Taguig City
Facebook: @pizzaexpressph

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