Durian pizza

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Last month we had "Explosion Cheese Durian Pie" (9/23/19).  Now we have durian pizza, courtesy of Jeffrey L. Schwartz, who posted this photo of an advertisement for Mi Tea on Bell Blvd. in Bayside, Queens…  Wash your durian pizza down with some salted cheese tea!

Mi Tea is a brand of bubble and fruit teas that is headquartered in Hangzhou, China, but has now spread to many other locations around the world.

It seems odd that they emphasize the salt in the English ad but it's not even in the Chinese ad at all.

"wǎng hóng nǎi gài chá 網紅奶蓋茶" is hard to translate literally and directly, but they capture the essential meaning well by calling it "fresh tea with salted cheese", where the gài 蓋 ("cover; canopy") refers to the layer of foam at the top.

I can't let pass the pun on the title of a famous song by Wong Faye, 執迷不悔 ("Obsessed without regret", i.e. "No Regrets"), which here becomes "zhí mí bù huǐ 執彌不悔" ("holding onto / grasping your Mi [Tea] you'll have no regrets"), with, I think, the echo of a probable reference to Maitreya Buddha (Mílè fó 彌勒佛) — "cleave to Mai[treya]", evoked by that cute, little monk at the bottom right corner.

Pizza Hut in China has been selling durian pizza since at least 2016. (See: "China Real Time Tries Pizza Hut’s New Durian Pizza So You Don’t Have To," Wall St. Journal, China Real Time Report, Mar. 11, 2016.)

I don't like the smell of durian at all, though I must admit that, if I can get the fruit past my nose, it does taste pretty good.


"Malaysian Multilingualism" (9/11/09)

[Thanks to Ben Zimmer, Lin Zhang, Yuqing Yang, and Diana Zhang]


  1. David Moser said,

    October 19, 2019 @ 2:42 am

    Dear god. You know, there is a lot of Chinese food I haven't tried yet. I think this is pretty far down on my list.

  2. Victor Mair said,

    October 19, 2019 @ 6:55 am

    That comment comes from someone who has been living in China for decades and knows the place as well as any laowai.

  3. Bartleby said,

    October 19, 2019 @ 10:40 am

    Ugh, I can't even get past the smell of durian. And the texture is awful too.

  4. Scott Mauldin said,

    October 22, 2019 @ 10:20 am

    Durian and cheese go amazingly well together. If you imagine durian as something like an oniony pineapple custard, it should fit into the pizza mold: it's basically a pineapple pizza with onion.

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