While waiting for a traffic signal today, a kid on a bicycle stopped next to me. He was wearing a red helmet, a red shirt and carried a red warming basket on the back of his red bicycle. I assumed he was a Pizza Hut delivery boy.

But no. When I examined his warming box it said Champion Pizza. I’ve never heard of Champion Pizza, but it must be close to my house since we were crossing a street about 4 blocks from where I live. I asked the young man for a menu. He gave one to me.

One of my favorite foods is pizza. I have very specific tastes. I like very thin crust with tomato sauce, Italian sausage, and sweet green peppers. It should be finished off with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The pizza must be baked in a wood fired oven. I have never had anything close to this anywhere in Asia.

The closest thing to a good pizza was served in a tourist place in Bangkok. It was made on a very thin crust, but didn’t have the right toppings. It was baked in a gas fired oven. It was served with a small sprig of uncooked basil, my favorite spice, which I tore into pieces and spread over the top. It brightened up the flavor.

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In China, all pizza sucks. It is usually served baked on a medium thick crust. Whatever is considered cheese is nowhere near what I consider cheese, it reminds me of mayonnaise. The pizza is always soggy and greasy.

I’ve had pizza all over Shenzhen from Pizza Huts, to several so-called Italian restaurants, to individual slices from places like Vanguard, Walmart, and JUSCO. They are all terrible. By far the best pizza I’ve found in Shenzhen was made at La Casa.

So it was with great hope in my heart that I just ordered a pizza from Champion Pizza. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise, but rationally I know it will be a greasy, rubbery, bland, disappointment. Another heartbreak.

 

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