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Hawaiian pizza is commonly considered controversial, provoking passionate and polarizing debate, mainly focused on the inclusion of pineapple.
Sam Panopoulos, a Greek-born Canadian, created the first Hawaiian pizza at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario, Canada in 1962. Inspired in part by his experience preparing Chinese dishes which commonly mix sweet and savoury flavours, Panopoulos experimented with adding pineapple, ham, bacon and other toppings. These additions were not initially very popular. The addition of pineapple to the traditional mix of tomato sauce and cheese, sometimes with ham or sometimes with bacon, soon became popular locally and eventually became a staple offering of pizzerias around the world. In regards to the naming of the dish, Panopoulos chose Hawaiian after the brand of canned pineapple they used.
In popular media
In 2017, Icelandic president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson reportedly told a group of high school students during a Q&A that he was fundamentally opposed to the idea of putting pineapple on pizza. He added that he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping if he could, as long as he received 30% of the under 21 vote. His off-the-cuff remark generated a flurry of media coverage and inspired those who liked and disliked Hawaiian pizza to express their opinions on social media. Celebrities shared their preferences on the matter, including Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who expressed support for Hawaiian pizza by tweeting: “I have a pineapple. I have a pizza. And I stand behind this delicious Southwestern Ontario creation." Panopoulos, at that point retired from the restaurant business, was called upon by some media outlets to defend his creation. Guðni later clarified that he did not have the power to ban particular toppings on pizza and would not like to live in a country where the leader could ban anything he or she did not like.
American author John Green reflected on the dish's cosmopolitan origins and reach, noting its Canadian invention by a Greek immigrant, inspired by Chinese cuisine to put a South American fruit on an Italian dish, which has gained its greatest popularity in Australia.
Hawaiian was the most popular pizza in Australia in 1999, accounting for 15% of pizza sales.
According to a 2019 YouGov Omnibus survey, 12% of Americans who eat pizza say that pineapple is one of their top three favorite pizza toppings, and 24% say that pineapple is one of their least favorite toppings. It was not the most disliked topping however, as ingredients were even more widely unpopular in the survey: anchovies and eggplant.
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