Is Pizza Chinese?

While eating pizza, have you ever wondered about the origin of the meal? There is a legend that states Marco Polo discovered a meal similar to pizza during his journey to China. So, is pizza Chinese?

No, pizza is not Chinese, according to the official history. The Italian city of Naples is considered pizza’s birthplace. However, numerous legends connect this dish with many cultures – Chinese as well. Some believe that Cong you Bing, a traditional Chinese meal, served as an inspiration for pizza as we know it today.  

Baked pizza on a wooden pizza peel

I find this topic fairly interesting. If you want to find out more about the possible origins of the pizza as well as different pizza variations, look at what I have discovered.

No, Pizza Is a Not Chinese Dish – But Some Think It Did Originate From China

It’s common knowledge that pizza, as we know it today, came from Italy. According to the official history researchers, its beginnings are connected to Naples.

The reason for its origin, however, may surprise you – pizza was invented in the 18th or early 19th century because the poor working class in Naples needed a dish that was cheap and quick to make.

However, one legend suggests that the idea for this meal has actually come from China. According to it, a meal called Cong you Bing (scallion pancakes) is the true predecessor to this meal.

While original Italian pizza is made from flatbread topped with tomato sauce, Cong you Bing is basically bread filled with different toppings, including cheese. Legend has it that Marco Polo tasted this dish in China and wanted to recreate it after getting back in Italy.

No chef could make it the way Marco Polo wanted to, so he suggested adding ingredients on top of the bread. And voila – the first pizza was made. Or so this legend says.

Bust of Marco Polo in Rome, Italy

Dishes Similar to Pizza Have Been Known From The Ancient Times

Many cultures are home to different variations of this meal and have for a long time, so the origin can be connected to many other nationalities. There are plenty of legends that determine when pizza begins.

According to them, it could be related to Persian soldiers in the 6th century, Ancient Greece and a dish called plakous, and many other cultures. Some even think there is a talk of this meal even in the Latin epic poem Aeneid from the first century BC.

Pizza slices with different toppings

Different Nations Have Delicious Variations of This Dish Even Today

Whichever begging it had, pizza is now one of the most popular dishes around the world. Moreover, there are variations of national meals that all hold the basics of a pizza (bread, tomato, cheese, vegetables, and other toppings).

If you want to know more about some of them, take a look at their food description in the table below:

NameLand of OriginShapeToppings
Lahmacun or LahmajounTurkey FlatbreadSpicy minced lamb or beef, tomato, lettuce, onion, parsley, and lemon
ZapiekankaPolandBaguetteMushrooms, cheese and ketchup
Adjaruli KhachapuriGeorgiaPizza boatEggs, mozzarella, feta, imeruli cheese
OkonomiyakiJapanPancakeSauces (kimchi, yam, pork, octopus, shrimp), seafood and cabbage

Pizza Has Become One of the Favorite Dishes In the US. But Before It Gained That Status, How Had Pizza Recipe Expanded Here?

Pizza has Arrived in the States alongside the arrival of Italian immigrants in the 19th century. New York’s City was the home of the first pizzeria on the US grounds in 1905 when Gennaro Lombardi opened his restaurant.

However, it did not gain bigger popularity amongst Americans for the first part of the 20th century. However, with the openings of big pizza chains, like Domino’s, Pizza Hut, or Papa John’s, it solely became a to-go fast food choice for many US citizens.

Today, there are countless pizzerias all over the country. Moreover, you probably know that there are pizza recipes typical for certain cities – don’t forget about the constant battle between New York and Chicago pizza.

Person taking a slice of pizza

What Is a Chinese Pizza?

When not referring to already mansion scallion pancakes (and their role in the history of this meal), this name can mark a traditional pizza with usual toppings. Plenty of food ingredients can be used in this dish, aside from usual toppings, like soy sauce, ginger, flavored meat, and the like.

Spicy Chinese Pizza Recipe

If you wish to try out the mix of Italian and Asian flavors, you can use the following recipe. For the ingredient, you need to get:

  • Chili or vegetable oil – 1 tbsp.
  • Chopped ginger – 1 tbsp.
  • Tomato sauce – 1 can (8 ounces),
  • Chili puree with garlic – 1 tbsp.
  • Soy sauce – 1 teaspoon,
  • Pre-made pizza crust (or dough you make)
  • Water chestnuts – drained, 1 can
  • Pea pods – 2 ounces,
  • Red onion, slices – ⅓ cup
  • Mozzarella cheese – shredded, 8 ounces (I recommend Galbani’s Mozzarella)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, 1 tbsp.
  • ¾ pound chicken breast – boneless, skinless, cut to pieces

Some of the ingredients must be pre-cooked in a wok. Chicken and ginger should be stir-fried in oil for 2-3 minutes, on high heat. After that, add tomato, soya sauce, and chili puree and reduce the heat to medium.

Place the mixture on base (bought crust or made dough) and add water chestnut, onion, pea pods, and cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven (375°F), take it out when cheese is melted, and add cilantro. Bon appétit!

Man Making a pizza dough

No Matter the Origin, You’ll Find Pizza on The Menu All Around The World

As you can see, the origin of pizza is not entirely clear – is it made in Italy, China, Greece, or some other nation? But does it really matter? I think not, for as long as we get to enjoy the amazing taste it brings (and discover its new and exotic recipes).

Wherever the road takes you, you’ll likely find pizza there. From east to west and north to south, many countries are not only familiar with pizza, but it represents one of the favorite meals. It has come a long way from the food made by and for poor people in Naples, wouldn’t you agree?