Do Hawaiians Eat Hawaiian Pizza? Plus, a Little History

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Montreal Food Guy wondered:

Hi Robert and Sarah,

This may seem like an odd question, but here it goes: Do people in Hawaii like Hawaiian Pizza?

I personally find it a little disturbing and insulting to all pizzas. If you exclude the fact that a tomato is a fruit, then there should be no other fruit that should be considered a topping on a pizza.

Your thoughts.

I have to agree with Montreal Food Man on the disturbing nature of those pies topped with tomato sauce, cheese, ham, and pineapple, but I didn't feel quite qualified to hold forth on the eating preferences of a faraway state.

So I called up Nadine Kam, the features editor and restaurant reviewer at the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Hoping she wouldn't hang up on me, I asked her if Hawaii has Hawaiian pizza, and if so, if Hawaiians particularly like it. She told me this.

...Just about every chain restaurant here has a version of the pineapple-topped pizza, popular with a small segment of the population who like sweet-sour flavors. They love it, but they're an exception.

Tastes in pizza here are pretty conservative, even in the post-CPK [California Pizza Kitchen] era. That may seem a little odd considering we'd eat some of these ingredients, like Thai chicken or Japanese eggplant, in various ethnic restaurants. We just like them more with rice than on a pizza crust.

So the go-to pizzas are usually a basic pepperoni-sausage combination pizza, or a vegetarian pizza. No one is averse to a teriyaki or barbecue chicken pizza, for instance. We love barbecue chicken. But anecdotally, whenever we have office pizza parties, the Italians and combinations go first, followed by the vegetarians, and the chicken pizza is left standing.

So there you have it: Hawaiians don't like Hawaiian pizza any more than the rest of us, and in fact they skew conservative when it comes to pie toppings.

But then I started to wonder where Hawaiian pizza came from in the first place. Wikipedia, that font of reliable information, says that in 1960, Sam Panopoulos, owner of the Family Circle Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario, was the first to make it.

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54 comments
reddhouse
reddhouse

Yes tomatoes are fruit, but so are peppers, olives,& jalepenos, etc. and pineapple...thats an herb.

mw83ger
mw83ger

I am sorry, but Hawaiian Pizza was invented in Germany...they have had Hawaiian Pizza as well as Hawaiian Toast forever there!!

anon
anon

While Panopoulos may have invented Pizza Hawaii, the same basic ingredients as well as the "Hawaii" naming reference can be found in "Toast Hawaii": toast (starch) + ham + pineapple + cheese

This invention originated in Germany in the 1950s. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toast_Hawaii

 

It makes me wonder whehter Panopoulos' idea really is an original idea, or an adaptation of this older German recipe. Either way - we thank him for bringing us this awesome creation!

HamandFruitYes
HamandFruitYes

you've obviously never eaten hawaiian pizza, 'cause the stuff is delicious!!

Ruskull
Ruskull

Someone made a radical topping decision for a pizza, and people liked it.  Nobody forced it on people.

Jere
Jere

Curious, did you say Chatham was NORTHeast of Detroit because you feel like it has to be north since it's in Canada? Because it's pretty much due east. In fact, some parts of Chatham are SOUTH of some parts of Detroit. (The only reason I even looked this up is because it made me think of the trick question: What city is due NORTH of Windsor, Canada? And the answer is Detroit.)

Marian Parkes
Marian Parkes

You'd think Hawaiian pizza would have Spam on it.

a understatement
a understatement

well pineapples are heavily favored by hawaiians and ham and cheese and tomatoes seperately ofcourse so maybe the guy that invented thought of that and decided to call it hawaiian because pineapples are yellow and the sunsets of hawaii are always beautiful and bright. thats just my guess.

Kai Mac
Kai Mac

This post made me smile. I grew up with an interesting story. My family brought Shakey's Pizza originally to O'ahu. In 1964, at the 'Aiea store, my dad and two friends (local boyz believe it our not!) decided to give back a little to the islands they loved so much. They thought what better combo than pineapple and pork? My dad never mentioned a Canadian influence, but who knows what happy Canadian tourist may have been sipping their Primo beer to the strumming banjo, watching the black and white movies flicker by while mentioning how well Canadian bacon paired with pineapple? This was in the time that pineapple out-of-the-can was savored - yes, even in Hawai'i - right along with butter fried Spam. A period of immense changes - a constant sound of pile drivers changing the landscape, but as the surroundings changed, it never seemed to alter my father's passion for the islands, the people and the ono food he helped create. Hawaiian pizza, whether loved or not, does have a place in O'ahu's history - and for the many local families that had an integral part in making Shakey's a place for family.

Anthony van Osch
Anthony van Osch

In some places in the States it's called a Canadian Pizza, either because it was invented in Canada or because it uses Canadian bacon (called "back" bacon in Canada) or both. Staggeringly popular for some reason.

Don
Don

I am Hawaiian (of Native Hawaiian ancestry) and I love Hawaiian Pizza. But there is nothing Hawaiian about Hawaiian pizza. Just because you put pineapples on it does not make it Hawaiian. In fact it probably should just be called Pineapple and Ham Pizza but it doesn't sound as fun as Hawaiian Pizza. I like the suggestion from another post that we should make a version with real Hawaiian food on it like pipikaula but I'd have to break out the TUMS afterwards.

movie downloads
movie downloads

This has turned my whole world upside down. Next they are going to tell me the Mexicans don't eat Taco Bell all the time and that the Chinese don't all eat Panda Express!

Kate
Kate

I love olives and green chillies on Pizza. It's one of my favorites. I wonder how Hawaiians do not like it

epic
epic

wow some people need to not take fruit so seriously there are better outlets for your anger...its just pizza...whats next genocidal overtones with couscous

Anonymous
Anonymous

"always liked Hawaiian pizza. What's wrong with pineapple on a pizza?"Nothing. what's wrong with it is calling it Hawaiian. Pineapple is Puerto Rican. Brazilian. NOT Hawaiian. stop this warped revisionist history. Show some intellect, learning and respect!

Anonymous
Anonymous

"Like if you think potatoes you think of Idaho. "No. this is more ethnocentric myopia. "if you think potatoes you think" potato salad.

timothy
timothy

I have never eaten Hawaiian pizza.

Anonymous
Anonymous

"white Americans (the people who made your state great) " white america stole Hawai'i from Hawaiians. And the theft and bullying continues. Telling us what our pizza and fruit is, and telling us how to write. Dag blasted haoles! Haoles made it a State. But didn't make it great.

XJS&JAZZ
XJS&JAZZ

Pizza reminds me of my 1st wife.It's round & flat.She could also be sweet & sour.

Rey
Rey

I grew up on Hawaiian pizza and everyone around me has always liked Hawaiian pizza. What's wrong with pineapple on a pizza?

JM
JM

They also eat it while wear grass skirts, doing the hula, drinking milk from a coconut and trying to find the idol Bobby Brady lost to make all things right with the Brady family again...

JR
JR

I can't stand Hawaiian pizza. I just never liked the contrasting textures or the sweetness of the pineapple. I'd much rather have a nice, garlicy white pizza with spinach or broccoli rabe, sausage, and mushrooms.

As for pizza in Hawai'i, I spent a little less than a month in Honolulu/Waikiki last year. I tried pizza from probably 15 places, and the best place, by far, was Big Kahuna Pizza, on Paiea Street, near the airport. Their pizza combinations were delicious, and their garlic cheese balls are incredible!

Inlay
Inlay

Would you rather they be alive on it? I mean, wouldn't they wriggle around, and perhaps even bite back?

Anonymous
Anonymous

"It is A.. fruit. Not THE fruit of Hawai'i.spell it right by the way."

First learn how to construct a sentence. Sentences don't have random capitalization with two periods in it. Also, pineapple is a fruit thought by the white Americans (the people who made your state great) to come from Hawaii. Like if you think potatoes you think of Idaho. Boo hoo, Idaho grows more than potatoes. That's why it's called Hawaiian pizza

Anonymous
Anonymous

"the pineapple is the fruit of hawaii,"uh. again. wrongo, boyo.

It is A.. fruit. Not THE fruit of Hawai'i.spell it right by the way.

Anonymous
Anonymous

"An Aussie here. I LOVE Hawaiin pizzas!"hmmm. never had a "Hawaiin pizza". don't think I wanna.

Anonymous
Anonymous

"Hawaiians grow pineapples in Hawaii - Cody" uh. no. They do not. Revisionist history; get over it.

Tropics in the South
Tropics in the South

Ham, Pineapple and Cheese are one of the great marriages in food. They are a perfect compliment and I'm a Hawaiian Pizza die hard through and through..

Adz
Adz

Hawaiian pizzas are awesome...and they make sense. A good pizza only has a few distinctly flavoured toppings, otherwise it's just a waste. The toppings should be small enough that you can take a bite anywhere on a slice and not pull off a big cheesey gob of topping that can burn your lip (eg oversized sausage). Finely chopped ham and small chunks of pineapple fit this bill nicely - they're distinctly flavoured and complimentary and they're small enough that you can take a bite anywhere and get roughly the same taste every time.

I personally find "American" sausage/pepperoni pizzas disgusting. They're loaded with grease and fat, and thats just the sausage.

Cody
Cody

I personally love hawaiian pizza. I make my own homemade hawaiian. What is the matter with you people. BBQ chicken and Hawaiian pizza are probably the most popular pizzas people eat on the west coast. If u don't like pineapple or ham on a pizza you probably only like pepperoni and sausage. If you think hawaiian is bad. Canadian Bacon? that is essentially just ham. That should be the topic. Hawaiian pizza is just as bad as FRENCH FRIES or ITALIAN SAUSAGE. Get over it. Hawaiians grow pineapples in Hawaii and therefor its called HAWAIIAN PIZZA not because they eat it over there.

Wayson
Wayson

I myself love Haole Pizzas

Cart
Cart

An Aussie here. I LOVE Hawaiin pizzas! There's something about the flavours that I just can't get enough of.

Aussie pizzas are great too! BBQ sauce, ham, diced tomato, egg & cheese. So good.

RSA Course
RSA Course

Throw some olives, anchovies and mushrooms on there.. and then you have a pizza! :-P

Wonder if you guys have tasted an Aussie flavored pizza, it's basically an Hawaiian but you substitute the pineapple with egg. It's pretty tasty too!

idiot
idiot

anyone who says something doesnt belong on a pizza obviously doesnt eat alot of pizza, nor should they be commenting on what should be on a pizza. its a frickin pizza. ill take everything on it.

Mile High Hawaiian
Mile High Hawaiian

i personally think a "Hawaiian Pizza" should consist of Kalua Pig, Pipikaula, Portuguese Sausage and a side of Mac Salad.

Avery Smith
Avery Smith

The best hawaiian pizza has ham, pinapple, coconut, crab meat and mandarin oranges. This is coming from an ex pizza cook.

August
August

Hawaiian pizza is delicious!

Dave
Dave

Am I the only one who upon seeing a food labelled "Hawaiian" assumes it has pineapple in it, and not that the food itself is an ethnic Hawaiian dish?

Even though now Hawaii only produces 10 percent of the worlds crop, in American culture, the pineapple is the fruit of hawaii, just like the orange is associated with Florida, and Nebraska means corn.

And, Hawaiian pizza is my favorite.

mike
mike

I'm actually a big fan of Hawaiian pizzas. I like the contrasting sweet and salty tastes of pineapple + ham, not to mention the contrasting textures.

Ironically, I'm otherwise very conservative with my pizzas and generally prefer the more traditional margherita. If forced to put toppings on my pizza, I'll usually just get pepperoni and nothing else. I'm not a fan of "busy" pizzas (other than Hawaiians).

Brent
Brent

I like Hawaiian pizza myself. I also happen to like it better when jalapeno's are included which are, by the way, yet another fruit that goes on pizzas.

zedman
zedman

Bell Peppers are very much a fruit, as are jalopenos, olives, banana peppers, capers, eggplants... all which can be found on delicous gormet pizzas enjoyed by many.

Rosaleen
Rosaleen

I love pineapple on my pizza. Add some olives and that's even better. I just can't stand the ham.

Lucas
Lucas

But why did he name the pizza after Hawaii?

Jim
Jim

We also want a society where the denizens tend to NOT ignore "good intentions" over something newly fabricated like the ridiculously absurd concept "politically correct".

Jim
Jim

We want a society where the mainland concept and word "racism" is not constantly invoked, because it is misused, overused and misapplied. EVERYone here knows; If no mo Hawaiian koko, you are not Hawaiian. Plain and simple. Haoles ALLLLways wanna rewrite the rules for their benefit. And their revisionist history is another thing locals hate. It's "White arrogance". Observed and named as such for more than one hundred years here in Hawai'i.

Craig
Craig

The concept that people from Hawai'i who are not of ethnic Hawaiian ancestry are therefore not authentically Hawaiian is - regardless of how good the intentions - pure racism, plain and simple. Is this the kind of society that we want?

Kahale
Kahale

Pineapple & ham on pizza is disgusting! I am Hawaiian & I don't know ANYONE who likes this so called "Hawaiian" pizza.

Liz
Liz

I personally love pineapple on pizza, but only on crappy national chain pizza. I would never ever put it on a "real" pizza because, yes, that does seem wrong. @J Mac: my favorite is pineapple AND olive :-)

zzzzzz
zzzzzz

FYI, being from Hawai'i does not make one Hawaiian. Being Hawaiian is based on ancestry; Hawaiians are the descendants of the people living in Hawai'i prior to contact with Europeans.

Most people living in Hawai'i are, in fact, not Hawaiian.

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