Pizza Hut Lands in Linyi

This post was much better the first time I wrote it, but then it was eaten by the Great Firewall of China. I’ll try to rewrite it but frankly, I am so annoyed and frustrated and TIRED of this ridiculous censorship and the fact that I have to use a special program just to see my own damn blog that I feel like revealing all of China’s state secrets right here, today.

But I won’t. Everyone already knows about them, anyway. Instead, I will tell you about eating out at Pizza Hut. Because what is more hard-hitting: exposing China’s corruption and propaganda or discussing the insidious infiltration of Western fast food chains?

Pizza Hut just opened its doors in Linyi. This is a pretty big deal, evidently. There were long lines out the door for the first week. Linyi already has KFC and McDonald’s, so all we need now is a Starbuck’s and the holy quartet of fast food will be complete – fried chicken, hamburgers, pizza and coffee creations. I’m not radically anti-fast food or anything (actually, I’m a few rungs down from radical, but I’m definitely on the ladder). I don’t like fast food much, but I do eat it from time to time. Eating American fast food in China, however, is kind of like a little escape into a familiar corner when you just feel overwhelmed by all the craziness. American fast-food restaurants represent the easy choice and on bewildering China days, it is the sanest choice. (Besides, it helps you to appreciate the diversity and taste of Chinese restaurants!)

So it was with curiosity and a pizza craving that we set off to see Pizza Hut for ourselves. Kunzilla was right. Pizza Hut is a high-class joint in China. All the Linyi elite were there. The whole place has the feel of a fancy European cafeteria. I even felt a little under dressed.

The menu is very familiar. All the usual chain restaurant appetizers and salads are there with the pasta dishes and pizzas you’d expect to find. The biggest difference is in the portions. The small pizza is 9″ and the large 12″ and that is it. No mega-super-sized pizzas or drinks on offer here.

We had fried calamari, (no joke about the small portions, there were literally three or four rings!) two pizzas – one “edge” style without crust and one “pan” style, and a cranberry crisp cheesecake for dessert (again, a completely normal sized portion for most of the world, but an American would have asked to see the manager.) The food was as expected. It must all come from a central processing plant, anyway, as it all tastes the same everywhere. I’ll admit I enjoyed the pizza. Pizza is such a great food. How can you go wrong with bread, cheese, pepperoni and veggies, and you can eat it all with your hands! Yes, you are supposed to eat pizza eat with your hands. I stand firm on this.

The biggest shock, of course, came with the bill. Eating out in Linyi is super-cheap. You never have to cook a single meal if you don’t want to, since eating at restaurants and noodle shops will set you back the same or less amount of money. The DH and I regularly spend less than $10 for dinner. Our bill (we splurged) came to 230RMB (20 Euros or 31 USD). !!???!!! Twenty Euros for a two-person meal!!? (Well, we did have leftover pizza for brunch the next day.) Outrageous!

My recommendation for the best pizza in China is The Tree in Beijing. They offer thin-crust, wood-fired pizzas, pasta, sandwiches, great Belgian beers and free wi-fi. Located in the Sanlitun area, close to the embassy district, you will definitely pay Western-style prices for food and drink, but it is fresh, delicious and unique. Of course, the best pizza in Linyi is still to be found at my friend L’s house. She makes it from scratch.

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4 Responses to “Pizza Hut Lands in Linyi”

  1. Derrick Says:

    Yup, starbucks, pizza hut and kfc/mcdonald’s all have western prices…in fact, here in HK, pizza hut and Mcdonald’s is the same price as in mainland China but HK per capita income is about 8 times that of the mainland making prices at these western fast food restaurants quite expensive indeed. To add to the bad news, inflation is making food more expensive so that 230RMB meal will be costing you quite a bit more.

    Beef noodles anyone?:)

  2. Simon Says:

    Thanks for your post. So the best pizza in China is at The Tree in Beijing. I have made a note to check it out next time i am over that way. So it means i can claim back expenses! Keep bloggin’

  3. global gal Says:

    Simon – I see you are a true pizza expert! I really do love The Tree. I don’t know if it is the best pizza in the world, but the ambiance and good times I’ve had there have placed it very high in my memory! And I love thin-crust, wood-fired pizza!

    Derrick – I’m all for the beef noodles! I’ll be visiting Hong Kong sometime in the next month and I can’t wait to try all the food and do some shopping.

  4. Derrick Says:

    let me know when you come. hopefully i’ll be around as i’m going to beijing over xmas hols. i can give you some tips on where to go if i’m not around to show you myself..

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