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When I was living in Italy, the pizza was not my first choice for dinner. Maybe because I was in Milan. But I ate many kinds of pizzas in several cities in Italy, and now I can say I love Pizza Napoletana, or the Neapolitan Pizza, the best even though I’ve never been to Naples! While eating all sorts of pizzas, I learned three important things regarding pizza from my Italian friends,
- The pizza is not for lunch but strictly for dinner. (For lunch, only “already cut” pizzas are allowed.)
- Don’t drink wine with the pizza. Only Coca cola or beer is allowed. (I wrote “Coca cola” but you can have “Pepsi” and other brands, or you can also have diet one, needless to say.)
- Eat the pizza with a knife and a fork.
I remember so well that the mayor of NY, an Itailan American, was criticized for eating the pizza with a knife and a fork… I wonder President Obama and Japan PM Abe ate Sushi with fingers or not…
(If you want to know more about Sushi, please refer to the past article, “Mystery of Sushi“.
Anyway, one of my Canadian friends living in Canada wrote me the other day, saying “Do you know KitKat pizzas? Try it and tell me all about it!!!”
Sometimes, people living outside notice a very interesting news of Japan much earlier than me, who is living in Tokyo. In the Internet Age, curiosity crosses the border in an instant!
I’m a KitKatter, which means I love KitKat and I try every single new flavor that I find, so I had no choice but to try it. I googled it and found a delivery pizza chain which provided a fabulous “KitKat Pizza”.
Do you want to know my opinion?? I want to be nice, which I’m trying all the time, and I would not like to be too critical, but… I liked the idea and I would like to eat it again if the pizza dough were better and if maple like syrup were less on it or even without.
I think the idea is hilarious and you should try it once in your lifetime, especially if you want some attention from your followers in Facebook or Twitter…
Speaking of pizza, in recent ten or fifteen years, more and more pizza restaurants have opened in Tokyo and a question came up in my mind.
How many pizza restaurants exist in Tokyo??
I did a little search on “TABE-LOG”, Internet Restaurant Guide, and here is a result of my survey:
Number of Pizza restaurants (restaurants which have “pizza” as keyword)
Japan – 6,798 (0.9%)*
Tokyo – 1,295 (1.1%)*
(cf*: In TABE-LOG, 777,053 restaurants in Japan are registered as a whole. 121,047 are in Tokyo.)
In order to understand more about the statistics, I will list up the numbers of restaurants of four major categories in Japan and in Tokyo:
Japan – 47,691 (6.1%)
Tokyo – 6,457 (5.3%)
Japan – 34,806 (4.5%)
Tokyo – 5,393 (4.4%)
Japan – 27,325 (3.5%)
Tokyo – 3,776 (3.1%)
Japan – 5,198 (0.7%)
Tokyo – 976 (0.8%)
As the numbers of the restaurants I picked up are from “TABE-LOG”, be sure that they are not the “REAL” numbers and there must be many more smaller-scale restaurants which are not interested in getting registered in TABE-LOG. So there will definitely be more Ramen shops in Japan… However, now we’ve understood how widely the pizza is diffused all over Japan!
To know more specifically about pizza restaurants, I made another small research. Have you ever heard about Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana? It is a non-profit organization founded in 1984 in Naples, Italy, to promote and protect the “true Neapolitan pizza“, i.e. the typical product made in accordance with the characteristics described in the International Regulations for obtaining a collective brand mark “True Neapolitan Pizza“ (“Vera Pizza Napoletana“). (From the official website)
On their website, I checked the numbers of associated pizza restaurants all over the world.
- Campania Region (Naples) – 117
- USA – 72
- Outside Campania Region (Naples) in Italy – 63
- Japan – 54
- Canada – 12
- Australia – 9
- Brazil – 7
- Taiwan – 4
- Korea – 3
- Austria – 3
- Portugal – 3
- Spain – 2
- China – 2 (Japanese chains)
- Unite Arab Emirates – 2
- New Zealand – 2
- Germany – 1
- Switzerland - 1
- France – 1
- UK – 1
- Singapore – 1
- Czech Republic – 1
- Ukraine – 1
- Greece – 1
- Republic of Macedonia – 1
- Russia – 1
- Kuwait – 1
- Argentina – 1
- Belgium – 1
As you see, in Japan, there are so many restaurants specialized in “TRUE” Napolitan pizza, as many as in Italy, of course, outside Naples…
What about Japanese pizza?? I mean Okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is surely something that has the same origin with Italian pizzas, I think. For those who have never tried it in Japan, please refer to Wikipedia, clicking the link above, for the basic information.
Again, here is the statistics from “TABE-LOG”:
Japan – 17,036 (2.2%)
Tokyo – 1,627 (1.3%)
Compared to Pizza restaurants, I was relieved that there are much more OKONOMIYAKI restaurants in Japan, although in Tokyo the difference between the two is not so big….
However, in terms of specific origin, such as “Pizza Napoletana”, there are less restaurants categorized in Kansai-style and Hiroshima-style, which are the two major origins of OKONOMIYAKI.
Japan – 61
Tokyo – 9
Japan – 10
Tokyo – 2
This may be because the people outside the two areas, like me, are not so interested in specific styles, while I guess people from Hiroshima and from Kansai area could even fight for the difference and the superiority.
I think that Kansai style of OKONOMIYAKI is more popular or more influential all over Japan because I found Japan Okonomiyaki Association organized by a cooking school in Osaka but on the other hand, I didn’t find any organizations of Hiroshima-style.
The difference between Kansai-style and Hiroshima-style is mainly the “crust”. In Kansai, they make the dough by mixing all the ingredients, while in Hiroshima they don’t mix. It is more like Crepe or Galette, and the vegetables and noodles are put between the two thin crusts.
I hope that one day, someone will start some organization to diffuse some specific trademark of TRUE Kansai-style and Hiroshima-style of OKONOMIYAKI to promote their own culture as Italian people did!
However, I run into another problem during my survey. I found out that Japan was the second largest consumers of McDonald in the world.
If I take into account the land area of each country, this data gives me some kind of a shock. I hope, desperately, the day will not come when this number surpasses that of future “TRUE OKONOMIYAKI” restaurants.
By the way, KitKat pizza is provided by a delivery pizza chain whose name is related to Naples… I hope this will not cause any trouble regarding the definition of TRUE NEAPOLITAN PIZZA!
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