PH's award-winning pizzerias share secrets to success

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 15) — Three pizzerias from the Philippines were recently included in the list of Asia Pacific's best pizzerias by an Italy-based online guide book.

Crosta Pizzeria placed 32nd in the 50 Top Pizzas in the region, Wild Flour Italian ranked 38th, while a mano ranked 48th, with a One to Watch 2022 Solania Award.

The three took part in the awards night of the "Guide to the Best Pizzerias in the World" at the Peninsula, Bangkok last August 8.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' New Day on Wednesday, Crosta Pizzeria co-owner and pizza maker Ingga Cabangon Chua shared how the restaurant's humble beginnings did not hold them back from making their signature pies.

"It feels a bit surreal. We came from a very humble origin, in a container van in Poblacion, and now to be globally recognized by an international body and to be able to represent the Philippines - it's exhilarating," Chua said.

"What makes our pizza unique is the innovation that we brought to our menu. We have a hyper-focused menu, and because we just do pizza, we were able to come up with more unique renditions," she said. "We have a spinach and artichoke stuffed crust, we have a pizza with a cheese crust, and we think our spirit is really the innovation we bring to the menu."

Wild Flour Italian, which is part of the Wild Flour group, prides itself in bringing an "authentic Italian experience to Manila" with its dishes. But chef Allen Buhay believes that serving woodfire brick-oven cooked pizzas does not make them any less unique than other pizzerias.

"I dont think (it's more traditional). I think it's still our version of what we like in pizza. A lot of the ones that placed very high on the list are very Neapolitan and a lot of them are very Italian," he said.

When it comes to flavors that appeal to the Filipino palate, Buhay said they try to keep their menu "as classic as possible."

Chua on the other hand thinks that Filipinos may have started with a "toppings-centric" pizza culture, as influenced by common American chains, but exposure to European influences and other cultures may have led to appreciating a wider variety of the well-loved dish.

"You see a change now, because people get to travel more, people get to try more new things and so they get to appreciate not just the toppings, but also the crust," Chua said.

So what makes a good pizza?

"I always thought that pizza made on good bread is always gonna be a good one. It revolved around having amazing pastry chefs in the team and we developed it through the years," said Buhay.

"The version that we have now is different from the beginning. But it's pizza on good bread," he added.

Chua said: "Personally, I am a crust lover and Crosta is Italian for crust. One of the things I personally look for is - I love pizza that has a nice, airy, light crunch to the crust, and a really good balance of toppings."

She added: "But at the end of the day, it's whatever pizza that you love."