In an episode of the Netflix show, Ugly Delicious, we follow David Chang as he works in a Domino’s Pizza kitchen; making and delivering orders. Here we have a two-starred Michelin chef shredding cheese, topping sauces and writing a proverbial love letter to fast food. Taking a step over the pond towards the City Of Gold, we’ve got me… no fancy ratings; only an expanding waistline which is proof that I’ve eaten my away in and around the city. My job is to find the best of the best and write about that. Now, I know a lot of our readers are going to hiss at me for saying this but sometimes you don’t have to dress to impress, reserve a table, and pay money equal to a deposit on a big screen TV to have a good meal. Some of the best food I’ve ever had was bought on the side of the road in Yeoville (shout-out to Loopy and the Dlala Nje crew for introducing us to the dodgy side of town).
This brings us to Domino’s Pizza. Since their welcoming arrival to our shores in 2014, the world’s largest pizza franchise has opened over 100 stores in the first two years in South Africa. We can learn two things from that fact alone:
- South Africans love pizza – fast.
- Domino’s is the pizza of the people.
As a food writer I’ve had pizza all over the place – from Brooklyn (the one in New York City) to Brooklyn (the one in Pretoria) and every single slice was unique. But why? The secret is not in the toppings, but the base. If you take ‘zars (that’s cool guy talk for pizzas) from four of the most popular fast food joints in Johannesburg, you will be able to tell them apart by their bases. Think about it for a second… yes, you agree (of course you do). The first time I had Domino’s Pizza I was skeptical; then again I get paid to be skeptical. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. Before we jump right into the whole “pineapple on pizza” debate (oh, yes it’s coming), let’s talk about the doughy goodness that is the Domino’s Pizza signature pie base. It’s unique. This comes from the brand’s use of wheat semolina which gives the crust that beautiful texture and amazing mouth feel (that’s my new favourite foodie term… mouth feel). I am not stating it’s the best pizza in town, but come 10PM on a Friday night and you’re four beers down with the boys (or girls), any triangle of cheese and dough becomes the best pizza in the world.
Moving on to the toppings. Let’s start with the American classic, the cheese pizza, which consists of a mixture of hand-tossed mozzarella, pecorino, Parmesan and asiago. This goes so well with the garlic and herb dipping cups, which have turned Domino’s from a little restaurant in Ypsi, Michigan to a multi-billion rand industry. The great thing about Domino’s toppings is that they stick to the classics and don’t go over the top. BBQ Chicken, pepperoni and feta, and hosts of other fun things to stuff your face with. JayZ’s favourite pizza chef, Mark Iacono once said that minimalism is the key to good pizza and though Domino’s Pizza is not shy with their toppings, they don’t over do that… and that, is why Joburger foodies should be digging this pizzeria more.
Oh, and as for pineapple in pizza – no matter what Mark Iacono says – it can go on pizza. Fight me over it in the comments. And no, Domino’s did not pay me to write this. I write about what I love – food.
By Shawn Greyling