Just like many other comfort foods I used to take for granted before coming to Japan, pizza is one of the most overpriced foods in Japan. Delivery can claim upwards of 3000 yen for a Japanese large (small-medium sized pizza by American standards) and if you are trying to be more thrifty the frozen grocery store pizzas can split a 500 yen coin barely satisfy with its pitifully thin crust, skimped out cheese, and toppings. Oh, but we’re really just getting started here… If you are not into having things like corn, sweet Japanese mayonnaise, and other odds and ends that are usually not put on pizzas in the US you’ll find the takeout menu gets much shorter and limited. Sure, you can make a “real” pizza at places like Pizza-La and Pizza-Hut, but they’re going to cost you about as much as a good night on the town.
mmm… nice n’ corny!
So what’s a pizza fan to do in Japan? Well you can complain on social media or you can do something about it. I used to make pizza toast which was pretty not tasty but more satisfying than store stuff but I got tired of that kind of quick. So, I decided it was time to find out if I could make one cheaper, and far more satisfying to my tastes than what is commonly available here. I am basing my prices and finds on my local area stores, but most of them are national chain stores so depending on where you live, you should be able to do as well, if not better than I. So if you own a simple toaster oven or something that can toast/bake with a flat loading tray, then you’re in luck. Keep on reading…
I used to eat lot and it’s not even really that good… it also looks not nearly as good the picture on the bag…not even close…
So, the first thing you need for a pizza is the crust. While you could make one from scratch, it’s far easier to just buy a frozen pack of them. I buy mine from a place called Gyomu Super that sells a pack of 5 personal pan sized pizza crusts for about 198 yen a bag. I also buy my pizza sauce there, as it comes in a nifty squeeze bottle like ketchup and comes out to 298 yen but you only need a spoon full of it per pizza so it lasts quite a while. The cheese and other toppings vary as I buy them wherever I can find them cheap. The general toppings for me are thinly sliced bacon, onion, bell peppers, and cheese. I can get a 300gram bag of cheese for about 200 yen or so and a 10 strip package of bacon for under 200 as well. I’ve yet to find pepperoni appropriate for pizza but I think bacon makes a decent substitute. Bacon is great with everything right? Right.
So, I’m going to be a little loose with my calculations but one of my pizzas cost about 100 yen each give or take a few yen. I’m liberal with the toppings and it doesn’t have any of that icky corn or doughy tasting crust from the super market brand pizzas. I’ve been doing this for about two months now and I am pretty satisfied on how well they come out. It’s not like I eat them every day but I most definitely eat them more often than I used to. I think it makes me a bit happier as well. Plus, they go well with BEER..and even Mugi to Hop Kuro.
So, if you’re looking for a way to get your pizza fix without blowing through so much cash or feeling underwhelmed from the bagged grocery store pizzas, then you’re in luck. You might have even better ideas or more ways to cut costs. If so, I’d love to hear about it.
It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done and that’s all that really counts.
Note: I understand that some of you out there may be cool with things like corn and mayonnaise but this does not ring true with my circle of friends so you’re getting one side of the story I guess... I have tried it and will eat it if on hand, but I prefer to not bring it into my house willingly. I can be a bit strange though as I like pineapple and ham on mine, so I guess I can be just as weird… That reminds me, I should try making a Hawaiian style pizza some time.