Does the wanko pizza taste better when eaten on all fours?

While big-name pizza chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut have a big presence in Japan, diners looking for something a little more upmarket can opt for Pizza-La, a chain that offers woodfired pizzas with a distinct Italian flair.

Now, it’s not just human diners who can enjoy the taste of Pizza-La, as the chain recently announced the re-release of a pizza for dogs. Called the “Wanko Pizza Teriyaki Chicken“, with “wanko” being the colloquial Japanese word for “dog”, this was a local pizza that definitely warranted a taste test, but there was only one problem.

▼ There are no dogs in our office.

Having faced tougher hurdles in our past taste tests, we knew better than to let this stop us from trying the pizza, so we went ahead and bought it anyway.

Thankfully, a note in the pup-shaped image on the box indicated this pizza was made by Comif Deli, a company which makes food that can be consumed by both humans and dogs.

Easing our minds even further was a note on the back that read “This food is also suitable for pet dogs“, indicating that it was safe for pups and their human owners. 

The meal is based on the chain’s regular Teriyaki Chicken pizza, containing familiar toppings like teriyaki chicken, corn, mushrooms, and chopped seaweed. However, the base is made with chicken instead of dough, and is said to be finished with “a flavour that dogs like”.

Before eating, the pizza needs to be thawed in the refrigerator for six hours or zapped in the microwave according to the instructions provided. When served for canine consumption, the pizza should be around the same temperature as human skin, so that’s how we prepared our pizza, before calling out for Fido in the office.

Alas, no dogs had walked through our door in the time it took for us to prepare the pizza, so we came up with an alternative solution — to randomly select two people to act as our canine taste-testers.

With seven people in the office that day, we wrote the kanji for person (“人”) on five pieces of paper and the kanji for dog (“犬”) on two pieces of paper.

▼ Then we folded them up and had each person choose a paper.

▼ Which of our willing participants will be eating on all fours today?

Well, they all certainly look happy about the results, but that could be because both humans and dogs will be eating pizza today.

However, while the humans will be eating their slices on their feet, our pups will be eating on all fours.

▼ And our pups today are Seiji Nakazawa (left) and Ikuna Kamezawa (right)

So how did the pizza taste? Well, according to our human subjects, the pizza had a lighter taste than usual. 

Despite its lighter flavour, it still tasted good, with some of the staff saying, “It tastes like a pizza from overseas”, “It tastes healthy”, and “It tastes like something a dog would like to eat”.

As for our cute pups, they merely smiled and licked their lips while making gleeful expressions. However, after telling them they didn’t have to go so method with their canine acting, they regained their powers of human speech told us it tasted great.

Not only did it taste good, but the close-to-the-floor experience gave them a better understanding of what eating a pizza might feel like for a dog. And because they were on the same level, they felt strangely bonded together, which, in the end, is the whole concept behind Comif Deli’s tie-up with Pizza-La.

Instead of eating different foods in different parts of the house, the wanko pizza lets you eat the very same food as your pup, breaking the human-dog barrier that usually exists at mealtimes. And because it can also be home delivered, you can set it all up in front of the T.V. for a fun night in, creating a special experience that will deepen your bond with your pup. Not a bad deal for 880 yen (US$6.53)!

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