If you ask Lucali’s Mark Iacono for his definition of pizza, he’ll tell you it’s simple: dough, sauce, and cheese. When he’s not making pies at one of Brooklyn’s hottest spots, Mark can be seen starring alongside Scott Wiener in the Thrillist series “Really Dough?”. In the show, Scott and Mark visit various shops, try different types of pizza in all sorts of configurations, and debate whether or not it’s actually a pizza.
Really Dough is a great show for stuff that’s claiming to be pizza, but might not be. Here, we’ll go around the globe to spotlight dishes that aren’t technically pizza, but are pizza-adjacent. Welcome to our new series, “Sorta Pizza”.
In our first installment, we’re taking you to the Middle East for a look at Turkey’s pide.
What is it?
Pide is a popular Turkish street/casual dining food built upon a flatbread – similar to a pizza crust – adorned with various toppings like cheese, spinach, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and more.
What’s with the name?
In the same way that pizza just means “pie” in the original Italian sense of the word, “pide” just means “pie” in Turkish. So, just like “pizza” started as a simple word, but came to mean so much more, so did “pide”.
How’s it made?
The video below from YouTube’s Kara and Nate does a great job of showing how pide is made; you’ll notice that it’s virtually identical to the pizza process.
A dough is made and stretched — this time into an oblong shape rather than circular. Then, after the toppings are added, it’s loaded into the oven. Pide can be baked wide and open (in a sort of boat shape) or narrow and closed, like in the video below:
What’s on it?
What goes in or on top of the dough is up to the chef (or customer) but popular combos are cheese and ground Turkish sausage, cheese and spinach, and ground beef and onion. Being a Mediterranean dish, feta cheese and lamb are also popular ingredients. Raw egg is another popular addition – that gets added after baking and the still-piping-hot pide cooks it through.
One big difference between pide and pizza is the inclusion of butter. The pide crust is caked with butter straight after coming out of the oven, giving it a nice (and extremely delicious-looking) shine.
How’s it eaten?
Pide is a street/fast casual food so it’s typically chopped up into slices and eaten without utensils, just like (most) pizza. Pide is often accompanied with yoghurt sauce for dipping.
Where can I get it?
Given its popularity and ubiquity as a Turkish street food, many Turkish and Mediterranean restaurants serve pide. Thanks to its similarity to pizza, some Turkish and Mediterranean restaurants can even be found selling it on Slice! Uncle Nick’s Mediterranean in Queens, Ali Baba in Boston, and Cafe Gossip in South Hackensack, NJ are a few spots where you can pick up a pide through the Slice app.
So, is it pizza?
Plenty of recipes refer to pide as “Turkish pizza” but, if we’re going by Iacono’s definition, we’d have to say “no” — traditional pide recipes are missing the sauce. There are certainly pide recipes that call for tomato paste, or even diced tomatoes, but those are included as toppings rather than as a base like it is on pizza. But, y’know what, that’s OK, because even if it isn’t strictly pizza — and it’s not claiming to be — Turkish pide is definitely delicious.