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Pizza with abalone sauce, shiitake mushrooms and cheese taste test: Buddha Jumps Over the Wall Lunar New Year special launched by Pizza Hut

South China Morning Post logo South China Morning Post 27/1/2022 Bernice Chan
  • A classic Chinese soup's luxurious ingredients spread over pizza dough - how does that work? Surprisingly well, two foodies who tried the Pizza Hut pie find
  • A dried-seafood entrepreneur helped the chain develop the pizza topped with sea cucumber, abalone sauce, ham and shiitake. Pizza Hut Taiwan offer their own

Fast food chain Pizza Hut has created a limited-edition pizza for Hong Kong diners.

Just in time for Lunar New Year, it has teamed up with a Hong Kong dried-seafood brand to present the famous soup "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall" in pizza form.

Dating back to China's Ming dynasty, the soup gets its name from a monk who walked by a home where someone was making a fragrant soup that smelled so good, he couldn't resist and jumped over the wall to eat it.

The pizza features similar ingredients to the classic Chinese soup - the toppings include fish maw, sea cucumber, Yunnan ham, imitation shark's fin, shiitake mushrooms, chicken and abalone sauce with mozzarella cheese.

Blogger Gary Suen (left) and food writer Chan Chun-wai taste a Buddha Jumps Over the Wall pizza at Pizza Hut in Kennedy Town. Photo: Xiaomei Chen © Provided by South China Morning Post Blogger Gary Suen (left) and food writer Chan Chun-wai taste a Buddha Jumps Over the Wall pizza at Pizza Hut in Kennedy Town. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

The Post enlisted the help of two foodies, Chan Chun-wai, a food and travel writer, and blogger Gary Suen, for a taste test at Pizza Hut in Kennedy Town on January 27, the day of the pie's launch.

The pizza arrived piping hot in a deep pan and had a decent amount of cheesiness from the melted mozzarella on top. Cubed chicken, along with thin slices of fish maw, sea cucumber, Chinese ham, cubed mushrooms and dried imitation shark's fin could easily be identified.

While Chan was busy taking pictures, Suen started eating a slice of pizza and looked deep in thought. Was it good? He nodded as he chewed. "I like the texture," Suen says. "It [the topping] matches well. For Chinese New Year it's OK."

Chan finally took a few bites. "It's good that it doesn't have tomato sauce on it. The abalone sauce works well. The sauce helps a lot because the fish maw doesn't have much taste, but the mushrooms are very tasty."

They both agreed the thick crust was helpful in holding up the toppings - and that two or three slices fill you up.

Pizza Hut's Buddha Jumps Over the Wall pizza. Photo: Xiaomei Chen © Provided by South China Morning Post Pizza Hut's Buddha Jumps Over the Wall pizza. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Pizza Hut in Taiwan has come up with its own version of a Buddha Jumps Over the Wall pizza, featuring abalone, conpoy, spare ribs, sliced egg, sea cucumber, fish skin, mushroom, dried bamboo shoots and taro topped with mozzarella cheese.

Suen said the Hong Kong version reminded him of Pizza Hut's collaboration with famed roast goose restaurant Yung Kee on a pizza that had slices of roast goose with cheese, Chinese leek, red onion, red chilli and seafood sauce.

Charles Cheung Tung-ching, 30, is a trained Chinese chef and the owner of Catty and Tael, which supplied the dried seafood in a collaboration with the pizza franchise.

Charles Cheung Tung-ching is the owner of Catty and Tael, which supplied the seafood. Photo: Catty and Tael © Provided by South China Morning Post Charles Cheung Tung-ching is the owner of Catty and Tael, which supplied the seafood. Photo: Catty and Tael

"Pizza Hut wanted to have some fun and create a local flavoured pizza. We had a brainstorming session and one of the suggestions was lap cheung, or the Chinese sausage," recalls Cheung.

"I threw out the idea of dried seafood and the Pizza Hut people suggested, 'Why don't we do Buddha Jumps Over the Wall?'"

Cheung thought this was a good challenge. He and Pizza Hut made over 30 pizzas before they found the right ratio of Chinese ingredients to sauce. They simplified the recipe to make the pizza easy to produce and consistent in quality.

Pizza Hut's Buddha Jumps Over the Wall pizza. Photo: Pizza Hut © Provided by South China Morning Post Pizza Hut's Buddha Jumps Over the Wall pizza. Photo: Pizza Hut

"Pizza Hut puts their pizzas in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for seven minutes, so that ensures any topping will be fully cooked. I have to tell you mozzarella cheese with abalone sauce tastes so good," he says. "Even though the fish maw is sliced into thin strips and baked in the oven, it still tastes smooth."

Having apprenticed under Hong Kong's "Abalone king" Yeung Koon-yat, the young entrepreneur is particularly proud of his abalone sauce, saying it goes well with the pizza dough.

The Buddha Jumps Over the Wall pizza costs HK$238 and is available at Pizza Hut in Hong Kong until February 9.

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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