Chain’s first-ever dough-free pizzas remind us of another popular Japanese-fusion dish. 

Japan’s fast food scene is dotted with local specialties you won’t find anywhere else. Over at Mos Burger and McDonald’s, for instance, you can pick up burgers with rice in place of buns, and now Domino’s is joining the trend, by swapping pizza dough for rice for the first time ever.

The new series, called “Pizza Rice Bowls“, is said to be “the ultimate collaboration between pizza and Japanese food“, featuring pizza toppings on a bed of butter rice that took a year to perfect. While Domino’s says it attempted to combine other types of Japanese food with pizza, experimenting with things such as “Pizza Tempura,” “Pizza Ramen,” and “Pizza Sushi,” the chain deemed “Pizza Rice Bowls” to be the best combination, and we wasted no time in picking up four of them to try as soon as they were released on 19 May.

The chain has a total of seven Pizza Rice Bowls to choose from: Domino’s Deluxe, Garlic Master, Charcoal-grilled Chiki-teri, Goryeo Calbi, Charcoal-grilled Beef, Seafood Special (White Sauce), and 5-Cheese.

▼ The rice bowls come in cute boxes that make you feel as if you’ve ordered a mini pizza for one.

Opening the boxes, however, reveals that these are no ordinary pizzas. We decided to try four of our favourites: Domino’s Deluxe, Goryeo Calbi, Seafood Special, and 5-Cheese.

We started with the Goryeo Calbi, which contains 100-percent mozzarella cheese, beef ribs, green bell peppers, and garlic on a bed of butter rice.

Digging into the dish with a spoon provided us with a delicious mouthful that was hearty and cheesy, and tasted exactly like the pizza topping we’ve come to love. However, instead of the chewy dough to complement it all, each mouthful was much smoother and softer in texture, due to the bed of butter rice.

The white sauce and tomato sauce paired beautifully with the butter rice, and we were immediately impressed by the dish. However, there was one thing we felt compelled to mention…

▼ Isn’t this just like doria?

Doria is a popular oven-baked dish that commonly appears on menus at Western restaurants around Japan. Made with a bed of short-grain rice that’s usually buttered, and topped with white sauce, meat sauce and cheese, the dish is like a rice-based gratin, and it’s exactly what came to mind as we taste-tested each pizza bowl.

In fact, these pizza bowls were so similar to doria that we couldn’t help but wonder: why hadn’t they just called them something like “Pizza Doria” instead? And given that doria is widely available and isn’t all that difficult to make, how come it took them an entire year to develop the product?

We figured that the chain wanted the name of the product to conjure up the popular beef bowl in the minds of diners, as a pizza rice bowl does sound more enticing than a pizza doria, which isn’t all that revolutionary. No matter the name, though, you can’t deny that diners who eat these will think they taste just like dorias, which isn’t exactly a bad thing, as it’s an incredibly popular dish.

Naming complaints aside, the rice bowls taste fantastic and are sure to be a hit, especially with solo diners ordering lunch while working from home. Priced from 1,099 yen (US$10.60) for delivery, and 799 yen for takeout, it’s a great way to enjoy pizza without the dough, and much more filling than this recipe for pizza on a fried tofu base.

Related: Domino’s Japan
Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]