Lovers of authentic Italian or New York-style pizza, turn away now because if pineapple on pizza didn’t already make you grimace, this new dish from Pizza Hut in Hong Kong will certainly seem criminal to you.
Introducing the “Snake Soup Pizza”, a 9-inch pie topped with shredded snake meat, black mushrooms, and Chinese dried ham, garnished with chrysanthemum petals, ginger, and lemongrass and using abalone sauce as a base instead of the traditional marinara sauce.
The franchise’s autumn special was created in collaboration with Ser Wong Fun, a century-old Cantonese restaurant specializing in snake dishes – it has been run by the same family for four generations. It was their famous snake stew that inspired the snake soup pizza and the formulation of its ingredients. The other dish coming out of this collaboration on the Pizza Hut menu is the “Double flavour preserved sausage pizza” which features lap cheong, meaning Chinese dried sausage in Cantonese, in the stuffed crust. Dried sausage is commonly eaten during the colder months in the region and understandably it is getting much less attention from the internet.
This isn’t the first time Pizza Hut has embarked on a journey of glocalization in their franchises across Asia by adding wacky toppings. From durian, curdled pig blood, and chicken feet being featured in Taiwanese pizzas, to salted egg and chilli crab on Singaporean pizzas, the internet is once again divided on the fusion of traditional delicacies with modern fast foods, with many wondering whether the addition of this particular protein on a pizza pie is a step too far.
“I’ve had snake stew when I was younger, but I can’t imagine eating it in the form of a pizza,” said Janet Tse, a 19-year-old Hong Konger. “I know snake is supposed to taste like dry chicken or fish, but the idea of eating snake meat just terrifies me.”
On the other hand, some locals have been more open-minded to trying this new offering. Snake stew is a traditional favourite for diners in Hong Kong and around Southern China, especially as the weather gets colder. In fact, snake meat for culinary purposes is not uncommon in other parts of Southeast Asia too. In traditional Chinese medicine, snake meat is believed to have many medicinal properties such as improving skin conditions and warming the body from the inside out.
Watch this Hong Kong Instagram foodie try the now notorious snake soup pizza below, so you don’t have to.
For this recipe, the breeds of Chinese rat snakes, white banded snakes, and banded kraits were used, “Paired with cheese and diced chicken, the snake meat becomes richer in taste,” Pizza Hut Hong Kong said in a statement before the release of the dish, “Combined with pizza, it marks a breakthrough from the conventional concept of what maintaining good health means while challenging one’s taste buds.” They also added that snake meat is nourishing and can “boost blood circulation.”
Whichever way you look at it, whatever your opinion is, Pizza Hut has undoubtedly created another successful marketing campaign that has generated a lot of online buzz and attention.
The unique snake pizza priced between HK$186 and HK$209 is being sold until November 22, 2023 at selected Pizza Hut branches. Will you be giving this reptile pie a try?