Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Piece of Cake

I had only my second birthday in Korea recently, but while the first offered few surprises, and while I thought I understood the essentials of Korean cake design from the large number of small bakeries that exist here, I was not ready to discover that the large cherry-like objects sitting in the cream atop this example are in fact... tomatoes. I know, to the unseasoned observer the size should probably have given this away, but during my time in this country I have become accustomed to its suspiciously-oversized fruit, so it didn't immediately set the alarm bells ringing.

I'd marked the occasion earlier in the day with a return to my old haunt, Ijaemo (이재모 aka Lee Jaemo - it's a name) Pizza since I was already in the Nampodong district of Busan at a computer store buying a new power unit for my desktop PC. Sadly their ham-and-pineapple pizza with raisins - which had approached levels of near greatness - was no longer on the menu, so I had to settle for a much duller chicken pizza which the waitress assured us was "not hot". It's not that I necessarily mind hot food, but to my mind there are times and places for it, and all too often food is so hot here it kills the taste of dishes which have much more to offer - if they aren't wiped out in a nuclear fire of peppers or tobasco sauce. Unfortunately it seems so much the norm here that trusting the waitresses' assurances was my undoing - maybe it wasn't for her, but by the time I'd had one slice, my taste buds were already numbing. The loss of my favoured Ijaemo menu item means that I will have to renew my quest for Busan's best pizza again in the near future, although Mr. Pizza's (bizarre slogans - "pizza for women!" and "love for women!") ham and pineapple may come close. It actually seems to feature identifiable ham and actual sauce.

Mr. Pizza have also, in my absence, apparently developed the intriguing Shrimp Nude and even more inexplicable Beselo ("Bestseller & Best Lover") varieties, in addition to curry pizzas. It's ironic that coming from a city which has often vied for the title of "Curry Capital of Britain", and where the vast majority of independent pizza takeaways only use حلال (halal) meat as ingredients, I've never actually seen these two types of food merged except in Korea, and although the idea hadn't occurred to me before, now it's left me wondering why.

I've also discovered that a local bakery and café has hit upon the idea of combining the themes of pizza and dessert, to bring us pineapple and walnut pizza-slices. Those with an eye for fine detail will note the herb-effect on top of the central pineapples. Expect more research to follow.


Mosher said...

Pizza Hell in New Zealand have done dessert pizzas for years. I've only tried one, but it was bloody delicious.

Mike said...

It's probably just as well this idea isn't more widespread though - I suspect they are loaded with calories. Pizza Hell - I love that name :-)

Post a Comment