All the things that make pizza great, only folded!

It was a quiet day in the office when suddenly a hot tip came in via our hotline. The urgent email read as follows:

“Over at Gusto they’re selling Eho Pizza. It looks kinda like a calzone or something. It’s a take-out only thing so I haven’t tried it yet. Why is it an Eho Pizza? Can you try it, because I don’t get what it’s supposed to be.”

This was indeed odd. Gusto is a popular chain of so-called “family restaurants” which are establishments that sit somewhere between fast food and a bar & grill, so seeing pizza on the menu is no certainly no surprise – but Eho Pizza?!

The name is a reference to ehomaki sushi, a loaded sushi roll sold and eaten on the traditional Japanese holiday of Setsubun, celebrated every 3 February. The “eho” means “lucky direction” based on the custom or pointing the sushi roll in a particular direction (north, east, etc.) while eating for good luck.

▼ If unsure, you can always ask a friend to help point you in the right direction.

There are many kinds of ehomaki catering to personal tastes, but an Eho Pizza is certainly a strange development. We sent our resident ehomaki expert Seiji Nakazawa to investigate.

Seiji walked into the Gusto and took a look at the take-out menu, but there was no mention of “Eho Pizza” anywhere.

So, he decided to ask the staff.

Seiji: “Excuse me, do you have Eho Pizza?”

Gusto Staff: “Eho Pizza?”

Seiji: “Yeah, I heard it was only for take-out, but I can’t find it on the menu.”

Gusto Staff: “…”

Seiji: “…”

Gusto Staff: “OH! You mean this thing?”

The employee pointed to a tiny advert about the size of a coaster, clipped to a napkin box. It said that the Eho Pizza was on sale for 499 yen (US$4.58) and only available for take-out from 16 January to 3 February.

Seiji was a little confused why such little promotion went into this special holiday offer. Even the staff didn’t seem to remember it. Nevertheless, this was the mystery Seiji had been sent in to solve, so he bought one and took it back to the office.

Still unsure of what an Eho Pizza actually was, he couldn’t wait to pop open the box and see the truth…

“Wow… Look at that.”

At first Seiji thought it was a giant gyoza (pot sticker), but upon closer examination it was a pizza folded down the center. The anonymous tip said it was like a calzone, but even that was overselling it. It was nothing more than a regular pizza folded in half.

What exactly made this pizza “eho” was still lost on Seiji. He thought perhaps the toppings were ehomaki themed, like seven types of seafood or something. However, peeling back the layers revealed cheese, tomato, bacon, and eggplant, none of which are found in ehomaki.

It was just an ordinary pizza folded in half. They didn’t even put in the effort to roll it up to make it more like an ehomaki. Our reporter was baffled and decided to call up a Gusto rep to find out what they were trying to pull.

Gusto Rep: “The Eho Pizza was launched in 2019. At that time we improved the recipe for our pizza dough. As a part of the revision we made the dough more thick and pillowy, and to help convey this we folded the pizza so diners could enjoy this new crust more thoroughly.”

Seiji: “…”

Gusto Rep: “…”

Seiji: “So… What’s with the name?”

Gusto Rep: “We were searching for something seasonal to tie it in with at the time of its release. We thought it kind of looked like an ehomaki, so, you know…we went with it.”

And so, the Eho Pizza mystery was solved. It was just a fun little way to promote their new pizza dough. Clearly it seems to have become more of an inside joke than a serious campaign push by the restaurant chain, so we’re inclined to forgive them for their lack of Setsubun spirit.

For the record, it was a tasty personal-sized pizza and the crust did have a nice doughy texture with the crispy outer layer.

If you do pick up an Eho Pizza this Setsubun, be sure to point it west-southwest which is the lucky direction for 2020. And make sure you get your Eho Pizza by 3 February. Otherwise, you’ll have to fold it yourself like a sucker.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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