Why do Thais eat pizza with tomato ketchup?
I recently had one westerner on a visit to Thailand ask me “Why do Thais eat pizza with tomato ketchup?”, as she’d noticed the ketchup bottles on every pizza restaurant table and seen Thais pouring half the bottle on their slice of pizza.
In the past, I’ve even asked Thai friends why they eat pizza with tomato ketchup and not one of them can tell me why. Only that everyone in their family does and just about all their friends, as that’s the way everyone has been taught to eat pizza in Thailand since it was introduced decades ago.
In fact, I haven’t met a Thai yet that doesn’t eat pizza with tomato ketchup but, frankly, there’s nothing wrong with it. As, after all, it’s just a local taste preference.
Thais like spicy food so pizza is bland
Don’t forget too, Thais like spicy food as that is how most food in Thailand is cooked. So, when they’re served pizza with nothing more than some bland tomato sauce and a few bits of meat and vegetables and then covered in cheese (which many Thais don’t like that much anyway), they think the whole thing is a bit tasteless.
Adding tomato sauce makes it tastier, and adding tomato sauce along with chili sauce and tabasco makes it taste even better still. It’s all about taste buds and what yours are used to, and most Thais are used to spice.
That’s why, if the food they are eating doesn’t go particularly well with chili sauce by itself, they’ll usually add ketchup instead.
The French eat mayonnaise with French fries
Look at it this way. It’s just the same as the French and many other Europeans often eating mayonnaise with French fries instead of tomato ketchup (I usually eat them with mayonnaise as well, as I prefer the taste). A local taste preference, that’s all.
After all, wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we all ate the same food with the same condiments? There wouldn’t be much point in travelling if you ask me.
So, the next time you’re in a Thai pizza restaurant and see everyone around you eating pizza with tomato ketchup, don’t worry about it.
You could even try it yourself, as I’ve eaten pizza with tomato ketchup now and again and it’s actually quite nice.
Good Pizza in Thailand?
Finally, if you’re looking for good pizza in Thailand, I recommend Duke’s at Emporium in Bangkok, PizzaZo in Bangkok, Scoozi Pizzeria Italiana in Bangkok, and these Italian restaurants in Chiang Mai.