Unusual Pizza Variations Around the World


Food has the unique ability to bridge nationalities, language barriers, social backgrounds, cultural divides, and generations. Trying new tastes and flavours is always an exciting part of travelling abroad; you can essentially embark on a whole new culinary adventure with each new country that you visit. And pizza is certainly no exception to this rule. Today it’s such a multinational dish, you’d be hard-pressed to visit almost any country in the world without being able to tuck into a delicious, mouth-watering slice. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the more unusual pizza variations from around the world. 


Scots are renowned for their love of deep-fried delicacies, so it might not come as too much of a shock to learn that fried pizza is actually a thing in Scottish chip shops. You can choose between the battered version, known as a ‘pizza crunch’, or the unbattered version, usually consisting of a frozen pizza that’s deep-fried until crispy and sometimes even served with chips packed into one side of the folded concoction before it hits the fryer.i 

Italy also has its own version of fried pizza, a street food known as pizza fritta, which became popular in Naples after WW2 when many of the city’s wood-fired ovens had been destroyed. The pizza would be made from inexpensive or leftover ingredients, like ricotta, pork crackling and vegetable stems, before being fried in oil to make it more tasty.ii 


It might not tickle everybody’s taste buds, but tinned tuna is a favourite pizza topping in Germany, often combined with red pepper, onion, oregano, olives, and artichoke hearts. Known as thunfisch pizza, this culinary creation is served in pizzerias nationwide – you’ll even find it on the menus of major pizza chains like Pizza Hut and Domino’s.iii 


In Hungary, Lángos is a white pizza-like variation made with pillowy bread topped with sour cream, grated cheese, onions, garlic oil, and bacon. The name derives from the Hungarian word for flame, láng, as it would traditionally have been baked in a clay or brick oven, although today it has evolved into a deep-fried dish and is a very popular street food all around the country.iv  


The infamous Swedish ‘Africana’ pizza is one you’ll probably either love or clearly dislike. Toppings typically include banana, peanuts, pineapple, curry and chicken or ham – definitely one for the more adventurous out there! Meatballs are, maybe less surprisingly, another favourite Swedish pizza topping. 


In 2008, after then-Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi insulted Finnish food as something to be endured, Nordic pizza chain Kotipizza Oyj named a pizza after him. Pizza Berlusconi is inspired by Finnish food stereotypes and topped with smoked reindeer, along with tomato sauce, cheese, red onions, and mushrooms. Following a new recipe in 2023, the dish was rebranded as Poro (the Finnish word for reindeer) and can still be enjoyed all over Finland today.  


One for the fish lovers – a favourite pizza in Russia is the mockba, which gets its name from the Russian word for Moscow. Traditionally served cold, unlike the majority of other pizzas around the globe, this acquired taste is topped with fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon, tuna and fish roe. 


Pizza is immensely popular in India, with a plethora of unique twists on classic flavours and toppings to cater to the local palate. Common toppings include chicken tikka, which adds hints of smoke and spice to the flavour profile, and paneer cheese, which brings a tangy taste and creamy texture. 


At the Australian Heritage Hotel in Sydney, you can tuck into such delights as a ‘Pepper Kangaroo’ pizza topped with native pepper kangaroo, roasted peppers, cranberries, caramelised onion, and paprika mayo and a ‘Saltwater Crocodile’ complete with crocodile mince, red onion, roasted peppers, mozzarella, coriander, lime, and peanut sauce. Or why not try a ‘Coat of Arms’ – a half-and-half pizza with emu meat and slow-roasted bush tomatoes on one side and kangaroo meat with charred peppers on the other? These culinary creations certainly sum up Australia in a slice! 


Pizza has become an incredibly popular dish in China, in large part due to the emergence of the big Western restaurant chains, of which Pizza Hut was the first in 1990. Prior to this, both cheese and tomatoes were relatively uncommon culinary ingredients in China. After extensive market research and analysis, Pizza Hut originally adapted its recipes to use less cheese and tomato and more of the indigenous ingredients agreeable to Chinese consumers, such as crab sticks, soy sauce, tuna, sweetcorn, and chicken.v 


Japan is another country that loves to put its own unique spin on pizza, crafting culinary creations to cater to national tastes. Mayonnaise is the add-on sauce of choice in Japan, often applied as a criss-cross pattern topping rather than just a dipping sauce as is more common in the west. Seafood toppings including eel, cod roe, squid ink, oysters, lobster, octopus, and even seaweed are also incredibly popular. 


If you have a sweet tooth, then you should head to Brazil to find your perfect pizza. Sweet pizzas are very common here, with Brazilian preferences leaning towards chocolate and banana. Chocolate pizzas are often topped with M&Ms, sprinkles, strawberries, and chunks of brownie combined with a stuffed crust of – yes, you’ve guessed it – chocolate or cocoa cream. Banana pizzas layer banana slices with cinnamon, condensed milk, and sugar for a hugely decadent sweet pizza pie, often also crafted with a layer of mozzarella cheese underneath the bananas.vi 

Suffice to say that pizza – in all of its cheesy, gooey, glorious, and sometimes downright unusual and surprising forms – has become one of the most globally recognised, versatile dishes that can be enjoyed in almost every country and culture across the globe. 


[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep-fried_pizza

[ii] https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20201116-italys-beloved-fried-pizza

[iii] https://www.tastingtable.com/1216277/in-germany-tuna-is-a-popular-pizza-topping/

[iv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A1ngos

[v] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza_in_China

[vi] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pizza_varieties_by_country