As a food critic in a foreign country, you might face the challenge of eating combinations you're culturally not tuned to enjoy. At which point you'll just have to take one for the readers expecting a review. Shanghaiist food editor Benjamin Cost proved this to be the case when he tried Pizza Hut China's latest pie.
At 73 RMB (or roughly $11.74 at the current exchange rate) per pie, the pizza is supposed to feature baked shrimp with an almond crust, squid, shredded crab, and pineapple over a Mediterranean-style seafood sauce, all bordered by a ring of 24 Milanese sausages — at least, according to the description on Pizza Hut China's website.
That's not how the pizza tastes. According to Cost, “the pineapple's tang, the tempura's rancidity, the squid's funk, and the sinus-scorching zing of the wasabi-mayonnaise all clash in your mouth, vying to see who can trigger the gag reflex first.” As he feared from reading the description, Cost found it to be a “horrible hydra of fast food.” It was enough to make him “unquit” smoking for a quick palate cleanser.
The blog editor does acknowledge his “cultural insensitivity” as he dipped into the biases that inform his sense of what's odd (or not) in Chinese fast foods. When he asked Shanghainese people for their two cents, he found no one balked and “some even said it was delicious.”
Still we can understand where he's coming from — the sausage ring alone would have been enough to make us pause. Cost gets props for not shying away from his journalistic duty.
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