Monday, March 7, 2016

Pizza Hut Introduces Its Own Durian Pizza in China

Last month I tried an unusual and odoriferous pizza at La César in Shenzhen. One half had a black mushroom topping, and the other half, more notably, had durian — a strong-smelling fruit people often describe as either glorious or revolting. Although I would be happier with just plain durian, my first experience with durian pizza was mostly a success, especially when eating the leftovers for breakfast.

About a week ago in Jieyang, I noticed Pizza Hut is getting into the durian pizza craze too for a limited time.

advertisement board for the durian pizza at Pizza Hut in Jieyang, China
Tempted by this durian pizza?

Normally in a city such as Jieyang I would want to immerse myself in the local food offerings as much as possible. But I have been here long enough that I found it reasonable to sacrifice a meal to give Pizza Hut's durian pizza a try. So I stopped by for lunch today.

image of a durian on the window of a Pizza Hut in Jieyang, China
Partially-opened durian sans pizza

The menu included a special for a half and half pizza. I went with the durian and "New Orleans style" toppings.

option in Pizza Hut menu for a split pizza with one half durian
Can't say I found the photo enticing

I took a seat on the second floor, which offered a great perch to watch the flow of traffic at the adjacent street intersection. Happily, no accidents occurred, and soon my pizza arrived.

half New Orleans style and half durian pizza at Pizza Hut in Jieyang, China
As expected, a bit different from the photo

It was smaller than the La César pizza I ordered, not surprising given the lower cost, and the durian appeared to be distributed in larger chunks.

Like before, I started with the less sweet non-durian side. Also like before, one drawback to the split pizza was the strong durian smell somewhat interfered with enjoying the other side. Disappointingly, the New Orleans toppings reminded me far less of the American city than the New Orleans roasted chicken street food I ate last year in Hunan. Unlike most food in New Orleans, the pizza tasted rather bland. After just one bite I made a dash for Tabasco sauce. It didn't help that much. The durian side was also rather unspectacular, though the large chunks of durian on two of the slices were appreciated. I didn't consider adding any Tabasco sauce to it. One positive is all of the pizza had plenty of cheese.

This is an easy call. I don't expect to order the pizza again. Both halves of the pizza I had at La César were far superior in taste and texture. In all fairness to Pizza Hut's durian pizza, I am not a big fan of their style of pizza in general. There are other places for pizza I prefer in cities such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, or even Zhongshan. I am not familiar with Jieyang's pizza world, though, and could imagine Pizza Hut is one of the better options here.

So if you like Pizza Hut and also durian, their durian pizza may still be worth a try. But if I develop cravings for a durian pizza, I will hold out for somewhere else. And for dinner tonight, I will be returning to Jieyang's local delicacies.

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