Pepperoni pizza slice close-up

The Taste of Big Apple: Why New York-Style Pizza is an All-Time Favorite

Pizza, together with yellow cabs, skyscrapers, and the Statue of Liberty, is a classic component to New York City. Numerous pizzerias dominate the city, serving busy New Yorkers and tourists its famous pie.

Fortunately, you don’t need to travel to the Big Apple to savor a NY-style slice. You can have pizza delivered to your home even if you live in North Vancouver.

A Slice of New York Pizza’s History

Italian immigrants brought pizza to NYC and America in the 1900s. The birth of NY-style pizza was in 1905 when Gennaro Lombardi opened the first pizzeria in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan. The pizzeria served large, wide pies, and slices were 5¢. More pizza joints opened several years after.

The NY-style pizza came from Neapolitan-style pizza, a type of pizza made with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. It has a thin crust, traditionally topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. You can add extra toppings on top of the cheese or enjoy it plain or regular.

NY-style pizza is still available by the slice or as a whole pie to this day. This is usually 18 inches large and cut into eight slices. Since a slice is quite big, you can fold it in half vertically to eat it while on the go.

Why People Love New York-Style Pizza?

Decades have passed since NY-style pizza became a part of the city’s culture. New Yorkers spent years to perfect the art of pizza-making. But pizza lovers and connoisseurs are still debating about how this type of pizza achieved its worldwide recognition.

Here are three popular theories people believe in:

NYC’s tap water

Legend has it the secret to the best-selling NY-pizza pizza is in the city’s tap water. People say the minerals present in NYC’s tap water give the crust its unique flavor and texture. Upstate New York is the source of the city’s water. It travels down through aqueducts and gets disinfected until it reaches the city.

No evidence can support this claim, however. Despite that, it didn’t stop companies from capitalizing on the theory. Some water companies say they replicate the city’s tap water so consumers can achieve the flavor and texture of the classic pizza.

Ingredients Used

Another theory says ingredients play a role in the popularity of NY-style pizza. Along with high-gluten bread flour, yeast, and water, the hand-tossed dough usually contains sugar and olive oil. The tomato sauce also has more ingredients than Neapolitan-style pizza sauce, which consists of uncooked crushed tomato and salt. A NY-style pizza sauce contains:

  • Canned tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Herbs (basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper)

The two types of pizzas vary in using the cheese. The NY-style uses grated, low-moisture mozzarella, whereas the Neapolitan-style uses fresh slices. You can add other ingredients to your NY-style pizza, including pepperoni and sausage, vegetables, and other types of cheese.

Coal-Fired Oven

Delivery woman with pizza boxes

Pizzerias traditionally cook NY-style pizza in a coal-fired oven, which others believe contribute to creating its unique flavor. The oven absorbs the cheese and sauce vapor into its walls and imparts it onto new pizzas being cooked. Modern pizzerias, however, use a regular gas oven to cook their pizza.

Debates on what makes NY-style pizza an all-time favorite would go on. Pizza joints are almost anywhere not only in NYC but also in other cities abroad. Each of them uses their own technique to stand from the tough competition. The best pizzeria that offers New York-style pizza would depend on your personal preference.

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