Pizza: The reference food for young children

One way to convince a child to try out an unfamiliar food is to say that it's an alternate form of pizza. Here are some examples. Feel free to add more in the comments.

  • Quesadilla: Mexican pizza
  • Dosa: Indian pizza
  • Quiche: French deep-dish pizza

I had originally listed crêpe as French pizza, then realized it's more like a French pancake. (I wonder what the Italian version of pizza would be...)

Comments (39)
  1. Barbie says:

    Although Japanese people have actually qualified Okonomiyaki as Japanese Pizzas, I'd still count it as "unfamiliar food".

    Oh, and it's crêpe.

    [Fixed, thanks. -Raymond]
  2. Uli Gerhardt says:

    In Germany, Lahmacun is often called "Turkish Pizza".

  3. Nerf says:

    I'd say a tostada is more like a Mexican pizza than a quesadilla. But I guess both are round and you pick them up.

    [The quesadilla has the fact that you cut it into slices going for it. But in other respects I agree that a tostada works better. -Raymond
  4. Gabe says:

    I'd say a quesadilla is more like a Mexican calzone. On the other hand, maybe a calzone is an Italian pizza.

  5. kip says:

    We tell my daughter that quesadilla is a Mexican grilled cheese sandwich. (In most places the kid's meal quesadilla is only cheese in a tortilla shell, no meat.)

  6. Sven says:

    "Although Japanese people have actually qualified Okonomiyaki as Japanese Pizzas"

    Where they drunk at the time? Okonomiyaki is more like an omelette or a pancake than a pizza. :P

    Then again, considering the atrocities that some restaurants have the gall to call Pizza over here (I live in Japan) I wouldn't be all that surprised if you're telling the truth. ;)

  7. Aaron G says:
    • Rice Cake: Chinese pizza
    • Burek: Turkish pizza

    • Sushi: Japanese pizza (everything is smaller in Japan)

    • Kugel: Jewish pizza

    • Biryani: Persian pizza

    …That's all I can think of right now.

  8. Barbie says:

    @Sven: Yes, as a matter of fact, they were drunk (at least, lots of drinking had happened). But then again, would you eat Okonomiyaki in a setting where significant drinking was not part of the game ?

  9. London Calling says:

    I have just asked my 16 year old whether he might like to try some quiche. Not having been in-vogue for many years, the aforementioned dish (quiche) is as alien to him as are plover's eggs.  I therefore mooted the suggestion that quiche is rather similar to a deep-dish pizza.

    The somewhat diffident ripost came back:

    "Why do they mess around with the original?! Those we had in Italy were thin and crisp exactly as they should be. You know the Italians laugh at the  rubbish we put on Pizzas here?"

    I suspect the Italian girl-friend might be bringing some influence to bear!

    I also suspect that there is simply no pleasing some people! :))_

  10. Windian says:

    Dosa is by no means Indian pizza. Maybe Paratha or Thalipeeth.

  11. bcat says:

    Clearly those Italians have never been exposed to good Chicago style deep dish. :P

  12. Tom says:

    Can't beat a good Manakish w/ cheese.  Lebanese place here does a zaatar & cheese and it's divine.…/Manakish

  13. James Sutherland says:

    I've found authenticity to be a mixed blessing; of the two Chinese buffet restaurants near work, the one a Chinese co-worker (which I actually mistyped then as co-woker, which somehow seemed apt!) as being more authentic is the less appealing (worse hygiene for one thing, and the food itself isn't as nice) – and I'd far rather have a big chain pizza with lots of toppings and a stuffed cheesy crust than an "authentic" Italian-style pizza with sparse toppings. In general, I suppose there are good reasons for dishes getting Westernized for our palates.

    Having said that, I did have a very nice pizza in an Italian restaurant in London a few years ago: extremely light and fluffy with just a little tomato sauce, and some good Thai dishes built around food which is rare in Thailand but more common here.

    I still remember studying Latin in high school and having a Roman dish described as a precursor of pizza – probably not too far from the truth, in this case.

  14. Poochner says:

    I've enjoyed Italian pizza and American pizza. I know some eclectic pizza joints here (ATL) that have decent margherita-style pizza among others.  The thing to remember is they may all be called pizza, but they're different.  People like what they like. For example, the canned lemon-flavored tea; if you can get over the fact that it says "tea" on the can, it's actually kind of nice, but it's nothing like tea.

    Q: Why is pizza in America better than pizza in Italy?

    A: We use imported cheese and they use domestic.

  15. Horst Kiehl says:

    James: The canteen on our research campus opened a wok station (i.e. where you could get "live cooked" Chinese-style food as opposed to the conventional offerings) back when Windows NT 4.0 Workstation was current. I had fun with taking the default-user background image with the "Workstation" lettering and made a version that read "Wokstation". Sadly, I never found a good opportunity to use it anywhere…

  16. Tom says:

    @Poochner – Hello fellow ATLien.  Give Antico's a shot if you haven't.  I don't think it's so far from our American stuff to really qualify as eclectic.  Absolutely murders Varasano's too.  

  17. Anonymous says:

    @Jonathan Rascher

    Clearly you're right.  If they were exposed to Deep Dish, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't laugh.  They'd probably cry.  :-)

  18. Iago says:

    For maximal amusement, try to convince an Italian that it is legal to describe the stuffing of an American pizza crust as "cheese".

  19. [ For maximal amusement, try to convince an Italian that it is legal to describe the stuffing of an American pizza crust as "cheese". ]

    Don't even try. <_<

    Just to clarify: I don't want to seem smug about food: I too enjoy my junk food now and then, and we too have fast foods that sell uneatable pizza. My point is, don't think that pizza is like American pizza – real pizza is a whole different thing.

  20. 640k says:

    Calzone != Pizza

  21. Eric says:

    You know the world is really #$%$#%$ up when you have to tell your kids that a quesadilla is like a Mexican pizza.

    For the record, in Mexico, a quesadilla is made out of cheese (no meat involved at all, just cheese, that's why it's called quesadilla, because it's made out of queso) in a corn (or flour) tortilla (again, no hard shell). The original recipe doesn't mention any slicing or cutting the tortilla in pieces. You're supposed to grab the whole quesadilla with your hand and eat it bite by bite. And there's no kids version of the quesadilla in Mexico.

  22. Mark says:

    I think it's a bit of stretch comparing quiche to pizza, given the egg custard and pastry crust.

    You could say Naan is Indian pizza (but the toppings are not as lavish). Perhaps uthapam too, although it's made from rice. (IMHO any "pizza" should be made from wheat :P)

    How about Welsh Rarebit as English/Welsh pizza?

  23. [ You know the Italians laugh at the rubbish we put on Pizzas here? ]

    I can confirm you that it's *exactly* like that. :)

  24. Cheong says:

    @Aaron G:

    • Rice Cake: Chinese pizza

    I could hardly imagine that.

    I'd say "Oyster pancake" ("蚵仔煎"… okay, I'll admit that I don't know how it's called in English. That's some kind of Taiwanese food) have a much closer feeling of pizza.

  25. Rich M says:

    Tarte Flambee is French Pizza

  26. Anonymous says:


    I spent some time in Oaxaca as a student. Some of the locals there did eat quesadillas with meat in them. Cold cuts, to be specific. And they sliced it. es.wikipedia's article on "quesadilla" also says there are variants with meat.

  27. [ I'd far rather have a big chain pizza with lots of toppings and a stuffed cheesy crust than an "authentic" Italian-style pizza with sparse toppings. ]

    We too in Italy have many pizza types with lots of toppings (e.g. pepperoni pizza with sausages, onions and everything it's perfectly fine), some of which imported from abroad (e.g. pizza with pineapple or with chips – both horrible in my opinion), but the key of a good pizza is in the base.

    The bread base should be about 3 mm thick (thinner is often dry or not satisfying, higher tends to become gummy, which often happens with fast-food pizzas, ugh), and there must be all around a border of about 1-2 cm, which, if done correctly, can be one of the best parts of the pizza – shame on those who leave it in the plate!

    Needless to say, tomato sauce and mozzarella (*real* mozzarella ~shudder~) should be of good quality and put on the pizza in abundance.

    [ Clearly you're right.  If they were exposed to Deep Dish, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't laugh.  They'd probably cry.  :-) ]

    Just seen it on the Wiki. I think that it actually *can* be good (when you're in the mood of eating junk food/McDonald's/kebab/…), but it's definitely not pizza. :)

  28. omnibrain says:

    Dinnete – Swabian Pizza (Schwaben)

    Flammkuchen – Pizza from Alsace (Elsaß)

  29. Dathan says:

    I visited a friend in Italy for a couple weeks, and she took me several times to a great pizzeria near her apartment.  I'm a big fan of deep-dish pizza (I'm a doughboy), but despite being closer to what we'd consider a thin crust, that stuff was pretty fantastic.  Cooked in a brick oven and topped lightly with tomato sauce, prosciutto, artichoke, and olives.  Mmmmm!  I'm not giving up my Pizza Hut deep-dish super-supreme anytime soon, but I'd cheerfully go back.

  30. DWalker says:

    The last time I was in Chicago, I went to one of the places that claims it's famous for its deep dish pizza.  The stuff was horrible — doughy, undercooked, tasteless, yuck.  

    On the other hand, Chez Panisse in Berkeley makes great pizzas with all kinds of eclectic toppings on them.  And great calzones.  (Upstairs, not downstairs.  And that was 20 years ago.  The last time I went there, 4 years ago, I didn't have pizza.)

    @Poochner: Funny.  It's like the joke that says Europe is nice to visit, but there are too many foreigners there.

  31. Andrew from Vancouver says:

    I'd say that Italian pizza is… bruschetta.

  32. Eric says:


    Sure they did. Just like they put queso fresco and avocado on tacos in Matamoros. There's no single standard when it comes to what to put in a quesadilla. I was thinking more about the "original" (as in the base class) recipe. The simplest, lowest common denominator, basic quesadilla. Those oaxaqueños must have had very small hands or very large tortillas, otherwise, no real need to slice a quesadilla (again, no standard for the size of a tortilla, but they tend to be hand-size, at least in southern Mexico).

  33. Stephen Jones says:

    —–"then realized it's more like a French pancake"—–

    'Crepes' are pancakes.

  34. Jeffrey L. Whitledge says:
    I wonder why the Unicode Common Locale Data Repository doesn’t yet encode the pizzas for each culture.
  35. Ray Trent says:

    Come on, guys, the point wasn't that the referenced foods were like pizza. The point was that it's easier to get kids to eat them if you *call* them pizza. I can attest to this observation.

  36. Daniel says:

    One "Italian pizza" variant seen in Australia that I'm betting the Italians wouldn't dream of doing: spaghetti pizza.

  37. Horst Kiehl says:

    Spaghetti pizza is also offered in Italian restaurants run buy Italians here in Germany, but I don't know whether they do that at home.

  38. Raj Chaudhuri says:

    Dosa is Indian pancake. Indian Pizza could be stuffed paratha, or maybe masala papad (thin crust).

  39. Francesco De Vittori says:

    Focaccia is an Italian alternate form of pizza.

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