‘Pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza!’ We’ve all heard that, haven’t we? That friend or family member we have who counts himself or herself as something of a pizza puritan, protesting when someone orders a Hawaiian pizza. But why is there so much hate against the Hawaiian pizza?
What is it?
For the uninitiated amongst you, a Hawaiian is a classic pizza base topped with, for the most part, traditional pizza ingredients. A layer of tomato sauce, some cheese (probably mozzarella, although this depends on where you are) and a few pieces of sliced ham. So far so normal. But then comes the shocker with the final ingredient – pieces of, or sometimes even rings of, pineapple!
Where does it come from?
Now, there is a bit of a debate about this. The most common telling says that a Greek-Canadian chef, Sam Panopoulous, created the pizza in a restaurant in Chatham, Ontario, in Canada. Panopoulos had been experimenting with Chinese foods, known for mixing sweet and savoury flavours, and decided one day to carry that on by throwing some pineapple on the otherwise savoury ham and cheese pizza. The Hawaiian was born. Or so he says. The Germans have a separate story, claiming that the Hawaiian is actually a variation of the ‘Toast Hawaii’, a dish with the same toppings but on toast, as invented by Germany’s first celebrity chef. Don’t Google that, though, because we did and it looks horrible.
Do people actually hate it?
There’s mixed evidence here, to be honest. According to a survey by Pizza Marketing Quarterly, in 1999, pineapple was the single most popular pizza topping in Australia, and even in 2015, the Hawaiian was the most commonly available pizza at British takeaways. But there are some high profile dissenters. A couple of years ago, the president of Iceland, for example, informed high school students at an event he was talking at that he was ‘fundamentally opposed’ to having pineapple on pizza, and that if re-elected, he might ban it. Although he later clarified that this was a joke, this represents some pretty serious feelings out there against pineapple on pizza. Having said that, after the event, everyone’s favourite Liberal Bro, Justin Trudeau, came out in favour of the topping, proclaiming himself #teampineapple.
And when they do, why do people have so much hate against the Hawaiian pizza?
Turns out there is a wide range of reasons for why people hate the Hawaiian pizza. An article in the Washington Post, where a journalist took a few friends to sample the pizza and give their views, turned up some pretty good ones. One respondent said they culturally objected to it being called Hawaiian since the only Hawaiian ingredient was pineapple. Others thought it was kind of ‘trashy’ (harsh!). But, for the most part, people just didn’t like the combination of ham and pineapple.
What do we think, and where can you get one?
Even at foodpanda, views are divided. Some of our staff love a Hawaiian, others hate it, mostly for the reasons laid out above. We all agree though that some of the best Hawaiian pizzas can be found in Singapore, including at Zazz Pizza or at Proofer Bakery & Pizzeria.