You asked for it, Pizza Freaks, and now you shall receive. It’s time…for our YouTube PIZZA CHALLENGE! That’s right, for our very special tenth episode of Eat The Pizza, Alyssia and Christian go head-to-head, building some of the CRAZIEST pizzas you’ve ever seen.
With sixteen mysterious brown bags full of wacky pizza toppings—chosen by yours truly, Nadia (long-time sister of Alyssia)—you know things got pretty weird. I’ve spent a lot of time with Christian and Alyssia. I’ve spent years and years collecting data on which foods they like and, more importantly, what they don’t like. (Insert evil laughter here.)
Who’s pizza turned out the nastiest, or the just plain weirdest? And who could eat the most of their freaky pizza to claim the title of Pizza Champion?! Check out this week’s episode to find out! But first, let me break down the rules.
YouTube Pizza Challenge Rules
- Competitors are each given a pre-made pizza crust, sauce, and mozzarella cheese for a classic pizza base.
- There are 16 mystery ingredients, hidden away in brown paper bags. These ingredients will be the pizza toppings. They have been not-so-randomly selected by a third party (that’s me), with intimate knowledge of the competitors’ tastes and distastes. Neither of the competitors know what’s in the bags, nor what to expect. (Alright: mwahahahaha.)
- There will be 8 rounds. In each round, competitors will choose their fate by choosing between 2 bags. They can’t choose their ingredients, but they can earn the right to choose which bag they open, through:
- Rock, paper, scissors
- Coin toss
- Guessing the number in my head
- Thumb war
- Arm wrestling
- When the bags have been selected and distributed, competitors will open their bags to discover their mystery ingredient. Then they must top their pizza with that ingredient.
- After all 8 rounds, competitors will sprinkle on some extra cheese and bake their pizzas.
- Once out of the oven and cooled, competitors have to eat an entire slice of their pizza. Whoever eats the slice/eats the most, wins.
The Strategy: Behind the Scenes
After delving deep into the vaults of YouTube and researching the many Pizza Challenges that have come before us, I discovered the common cheese that binds them all together: the weird-gross-surprise factor. No matter how different the mystery ingredients are, there is always a potent ratio of weird to gross to surprising ingredients. It’s a chance to take the bare bones of a classic pizza—crust, sauce, and cheese—and take it to a whole new, bizarre level.
Bottom line: the Pizza Challenge ain’t for the faint of heart. So, when Alyssia and Christian decided to embark on this challenge, I knew I couldn’t make it easy. I had to ensure that, no matter how the mystery ingredients were distributed, their pizza’s were gonna be whack. So I gathered what I new about the contestants and concocted my pizza-tastic strategy.
Alyssia is pretty adventurous and non-discriminatory when it comes to food. She likes most things, or at least doesn’t hate many things. Christian, on the other hand, can be very picky. I could’ve filled all 16 bags with ingredients Christian despises. But what fun would that be? Alyssia was overconfident, but I knew her secret food aversions, and I would not hesitate to exploit them. How successful was I? Well, I guess you’ll have to watch the Pizza Challenge and let me know.
Alyssia's Food Profile:
- cheese, EXCEPT for the ever-so-processed Kraft American Singles
- snack foods, especially Goldfish, Pop-Tarts, iced animal crackers
- bacon, eggs, and avocado
- French fries
- donuts and cookies
- cereals, especially Cap’n Crunch
- nuts of all kinds
- spicy foods, especially hot sauce
- real mayonnaise
- dark chocolate
- oysters and mussels
- raw kale
- MOST OF ALL: FLAN
Alyssia's Pizza Challenge Disasterpiece
Christian's Food Profile:
- chocolate, especially Reese’s
- biscuits and gravy
- burgers and fries
- cereals, especially Cinnamon Toast Crunch
- capers, and any form of pickled vegetable
- carrots (because they taste like dirt)
- lemon in it’s many squishy forms, like curd or pudding
- MOST OF ALL: SHRIMP
Christian's Pizza Challenge Disasterpiece
Who’s the most doomed? Might as well just watch the episode and find out. (Hint: they’re both doomed.) But, as strange as these pizzas turned out, there are some pretty weird pizza toppings on this planet that are more popular than you might think…
Weird Pizza's Round the World
If you're from the U.S., you're likely a fan of these most popular pizza toppings in some combination: cheese (duh), pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, onion, and spinach. But, this is just the tip of the pizza-topping iceberg. Pizzerias all over the world—including some in the U.S.—get pretty creative with their topping game:
- Japan: squid is a popular pizza topping, along with a combo known as “Mayo Jaga”—mayonnaise, potato, and bacon.
- Japan & South Korea: you can order a shrimp-and-cheese-stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut!
- South Korea: there’s a Triple Cheese Pizza at Domino’s, made of three thin crusts stacked on top of each other that are each covered in a different cheese: cheddar on the bottom, Camembert in the middle, and emmental on top.
- South Korea: the Grand Prix is a cookie pizza (loaded with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and raisins) that’s topped with shrimp and potato and served with blueberry dipping sauce, offered by the Mr. Pizza chain.
- South Korea: there’s also a pizza topped with apple, brie, and pistachios.
- Hong Kong, China: Pizza Hut serves up an Abalone Sauce Cheesy Lava Stuffed Crust Pizza, topped with seafood, abalone (sea snail) sauce, crayfish & crab roe dressing, chicken, and enoki mushrooms.
- India: pickled ginger, minced mutton, and tofu are popular pizza toppings.
- Australia: you can find shrimp, pineapple, and barbecue on pizzas.
- Costa Rica: coconut is a popular pizza topping.
- Russia: some pizzas are topped with mockba—a combination of sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, and onions.
- France: the “Flambee” is a pizza topped with includes bacon, onion, and fresh cream.
- The Netherlands: the “Double Dutch” is a pizza with double cheese, double onions, and double beef. (YUM.)
- U.K.: this isn’t a popular pizza in the U.K. per se, but the country is home to the HOTTEST pizza in the world, “Death by Pizza.” It’s made with 20 Trinidadian Scorpion chili peppers, and the pizza 6,000 times hotter than a jalapeño pepper!
- USA: at Nino’s Bellissima restaurant in New York, you can order the “Luxury Pizza,” topped with 6 types of caviar, chives, fresh lobster, and crème fraiche—for just $1,000 per 12-inch pie, or $125.00 a slice!
- USA: New York is also home to the most expensive pizza you can buy (as of April 2017), that’s made from black squid ink dough and topped with white Stilton cheese from the UK, foie gras and truffles from France, Ossetra caviar from the Caspian Sea, Almas caviar, and 24 karat GOLD LEAVES! You can find it at Industry Kitchen for a whopping $2,700!
To Pizzafinity, and Beyond
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: pizza is limitless. There are no rules, no “right” or “wrong,” just trust your taste buds. We’re trusting our taste buds this week, so we won’t be providing you with our Pizza Challenge recipes. If you’re dying to try them out, you can check out the episode and re-create your favorite disasterpiece.
We encourage you to explore pizza in all of its glorious variations and possibilities. But, maybe when it comes to these specific pizza possibilities…just take our word for it, and hang tight. We’ll have a new, crazy-delicious pizza recipe for you next week!