|Women hold up half the sky and *all* the pizza dough.|
PMQ Publisher Steve Green and
PMQ China's Publisher Yvonne Liu
|There's Steve to the right.|
His trip to Shanghai this past November ran parallel to his venture to Moscow in September where he judged the first Russian Pizza Championships and met with PMQ Russia's publisher Vladimir Davydov.
This time he was meeting with PMQ China's publisher Yvonne Liu and judging the Chinese Pizza Championships.
This is the 9th year that PMQ China has sponsored the Shanghai Pizza Pavilion and the Chinese Pizza Championships at the FHC Food and Hospitality Show. This year the Championships was the biggest they've ever had with 30 competitors, about double the amount that's ever competed. And China's economy, like their enthusiasm for pizza, is going strong and steady.
Steve lives for helping businesses grow around the world and was happy to have some company from American and European companies while visiting China.
"The most exciting thing this year was there were some new sponsors who had just been with us in Russia," says Steve, such as PizzaMaster from Sweden and GI Metal from Italy. American brands like Lloyd pans and XLT ovens joined the pavilion too and were really pleased with the success of the show.
The FHC Food and Hospitality show is the biggest domestic show in China, boasting 5 giant halls filled with exhibitors. The Pizza Pavilion had exhibitors mostly from China, but also South Korea, the Middle East, Italy, Russian, U.S., and Mongolia.
Steve's child-like wonder engaged him both inside the convention center and out. This year he was amazed at how "exceptional" the competition pies were, a big change from nearly a decade ago when pizza was still new to the Chinese market. Ingredients that used to be foreign are becoming more common, though China still relies on imports. Today 95% of the cheese consumed in China is imported.
At the Pizza Pavilion there was plenty of pizza spinning along with an impressive pizza demonstration. A 6 foot pizza was made from two 3 foot wide halves. The giant halfmoon shaped pans were made by Lloyd pans and they were fed, one at a time, through an XLT conveyor oven.
After both halves were done the pizza was carefully reassembled, one side only slightly warmer than the other. I'd like to see the delivery box (and vehicle) they put this in.
Chinese Pizza Championship Pies
Chinese pizza, like Russian pizza, has been much more influenced by American-style pizza than Italian-style pizza. The influx of Pizza Hut in China and Papa John's in Russia developed a culture for pizzas which are big enough to share, with a more robust crust, complex sauce flavor, and an infinite array of any toppings you could dream of.
Some of the competition pizzas resembled American chain pizza.
Some of the pizzas were all China. This one (above) is called the "Pork Trotter Aspic Jiangsu Style Pizza!" This was one of Steve's favorite pizzas in the competition. It's topped with sweet and sour sauce, pork jelly, onion, eryngii mushroom, lettuce and tomato. This pizza makes use of the chef's regional specialty Pork Trotter Aspic Jiangsu style pork which according to him, "looks like jelly pork."
Here are some snapshots of some of the exceptional pizzas presented at the Chinese Pizza Championships:
To see more pictures from the competition and the FHC Food and Hospitality show in Shanghai visit PMQ's Facebook album entitled FHC China 2014
Life outside the convention center
After 3 intense show days with 5 show halls and 2 days of trying pizza from 30 different competitors, Steve enjoyed a relaxed day in Shanghai with PMQ China's publisher Yvonne and PMQ Australia's Steve Millar.
They saw breathtaking views.
They shoved through (literally) breathtaking crowds.
They saw people selling crab legs right on the street!
They saw a man cheat at fishing.This man was using his birds as a fishing pole. When one of the birds dove for a fish, the man quickly grabbed it out of his beak before the bird could swallow it.
They ate squishy rice that had been battered with a wooden sledge hammer.
That goo looks more tempting covered in powder.
They passed on the chilis
and made it just to time, for a foot-changing experience at a flesh-nibbling fish spa.