I am no picky eater. I’ve eaten fried caterpillars, fermented chicken eggs (yes, with semi-formed chicks inside), and spat bullets out of Central African bushmeat.
If you tell me it’s edible, I will put it in my mouth, at least once – but I wasn’t sure I was up to this culinary challenge.
Pizza Hut Hong Kong, just in time for the new year, decided to take their history of innovation to the next level by introducing “Double Sensation,” a line of two different kinds of pizzas that offer double the crust.
According the restaurant chain, the inner crust is “stuffed with juicy sausage” (that’s what she said), and the outer crust is “packed” with two-colour string cheese and covered in golden cheese (I’ve lost count – is that three cheeses?).
For the sake of science, journalism, and humanity (so that no one will have to live with the curiosity nor have to endure this meal), I decided to go and check it out at the nearest Pizza Hut.
The Seafood Delight unfortunately contains tuna fish, to which I’m allergic. So fortunately, I was able to select the apparent lesser of two evils: the Beef Legend.
The inner ring (within the sausage crust) has pepperoni, cherry, peach and tartar sauce. The outer ring (from inner crust outwards) features beef, red onion, pepper, cherry tomatoes, and barbecue sauce. It’s kind of like they hurled the contents of a refrigerator at some dough.
They only offer one size: large. Excellent.
But don’t worry: before my meal I ate a cup of yoghurt to coat my stomach lining with a protective layer before I ingested any poisons. I was determined to do this, but I wasn’t going to dive in recklessly with no precautions.
After a wait full of anticipatory dread, a waiter approaches my table and confusedly backtracks when he sees a lone woman. The waitress who took my order confirms that yes, the large pizza is for that miss over there.
The first thing that hits me is the smell, which I can only describe as if someone heated a bag of Cheetos and some old sandwich ham in a microwave. It’s overpowering and I try not to breathe.
I sit there for a good five minutes trying to work up the courage to even touch the thing.
Finally taking a slice, I wince at the squishiness of the crust, which, is of course, full of, and encrusted with, cheese.
I take a bite. Oh god, it’s disgustingly sweet. That’ll be thanks to the fruit combo in the inner ring. I actually have to ask a staff member what the dark and pruned objects on the pizza were before I realise they’re dried cherries.
My progress after five minutes.
An eternity later, I finally make headway into the first inner crust. It’s not so much “sausage” as the world’s worst hot dog. I like a good cheap stadium hot dog as much as the next person, but this is just offensive, and it simply pairs terribly with the sweet breadcrumbs sprinkled on top.
I try not to think of how many workouts each bite effectively negates, but I’m seated at a table directly facing a mirror so I’m forced to confront the truth as I swallow each mouthful.
I bite into the last of the inner crust, fighting the urge to spit it out – but I fail. I chew and chew the oddly sweet and salty sausage and its plasticky casing and eventually regurgitate the mouthful into my napkin (gracefully, of course). Hopefully, no one notices.
Thank god there’s a bottle of water on the table, because I need a constant supply of fluids to wash the food down my increasingly uncooperative oesophagus.
The next bite wasn’t so bad, mostly because I managed to avoid most of the toppings.
Here’s a cross-section of the double-cheese crust in case you wanted a close-up.
Home stretch: I’m at the outer crust. My lactose-intolerant intestines grumble in protest at the sight of all that cheese, nay, double cheese, of the outer crust. Tasting like how you’d expect it to (cheap cheese in dough), it’s actually not so bad compared to the earlier affront on my senses.
In view of the finish line, I’m encouraged and pick up the pace of my consumption. In my rush to get this over with, I nearly swallow my last bite whole, as a wave of relief washes over me.
It’s not until I pack the rest of the pizza into a box that I realise how heavy the goddamned, topping-laden thing is.
My stomach feels queasy for the next hour, but it’s nothing compared to the lifetime of regret and disgust I’m sure I’ll feel.
Photos/Text: Laurel Chor