Australian-Style Pizza Is The Epitome Of Breakfast For Dinner

Pizza topping popularity is a particularly puzzling topic to ponder. Why, for instance, is pineapple so polarizing, and why would bananas be popular in Sweden but not elsewhere? What makes Japanese pizza so pretty? And why do chains like Pizza Hut always seem to save the best stuff for customers outside the U.S.? To these questions, add one more: Why do Australians put breakfast foods and fruit on a pizza so iconic it shares the country's nickname?

The Aussie may not be something you'll see on the menu of an American Outback any time soon, but it showcases the wide-ranging tastes of a country that brought us both the pavlova and witchetty grubs (not to mention canned ice cream). What makes Aussie pizza so unique? The barbecue sauce base is nothing too unusual, nor are the onions or bacon, but adding fried eggs makes for something that's a bit more over the top. Some people add pineapple, too, which makes things even more interesting. 

The Aussie does have numerous fans, though, and they've been known to describe it as the kind of pizza you'll order when three sheets to the wind, but find just as appealing the next day even once you've trimmed your sails a bit. Some even feel that this pizza encapsulates the essence of Australia, and it does make a more likely ambassador than vegemite (even if Domino's Australia once featured a pizza with the latter ingredient).

The Aussie was created in Melbourne's own Little Italy

While Australians these days are all about cutting-edge gourmet pizzas, these cheesy pies were a late arrival in the Land Down Under. It wasn't until after WWII, at a time when Mediterranean migrants began opening restaurants, that Australians first got a piece of the global pizza pie. By 1960, a quarter of the people living in Melbourne's Carlton neighborhood were of Italian origin, and Lygon Street became the heart of a burgeoning Little Italy. The following year, a restaurant called Toto's Pizza House opened as what some claim to be the nation's first true pizza parlor (as opposed to a cafe or restaurant that just happened to feature the dish on the menu). This credential, whether true or not, earned the restaurant a place in the World Pizza Hall of Fame. One thing no one disputes is that Toto's is the original home of the Aussie pie, so it deserves a HOF spot even if it wasn't the first Antipodean pizzeria.

While we don't know the exact year that the Aussie was birthed, we do know the name of the father: Toto's owner Salvatore della Bruna. Bruna, interviewed in the 2013 film "Lygon Street: Si Parla Italiano," revealed that this culinary invention of his wouldn't have passed muster with his Old World (and seemingly old-school) papà. As The Sydney Morning Herald Reports, his exact words were: "If my father woulda seen me making pizza with the pineapple, he woulda killed me."

The Aussie offers options

A typical Aussie pizza (sometimes known as an Australian pizza by those who prefer more formality in their nomenclature) has a standard pizza crust topped with barbecue sauce and mozzarella cheese. On top of this go red onions, fried eggs, and chopped bacon. One note on the bacon: The Australian pork product is quite different from the American kind as the meat is less fatty, less smoky, and usually cut in thicker slabs. It's actually more like what we call Canadian bacon than the strips we fry up for our morning meal.

As for the pineapple, no, we didn't forget this fruit. It seems it's not de rigueur for an Aussie pie, although it is sometimes available as an optional upgrade. Other add-ons used to jazz up the standard Aussie pie may include chiles, garlic, and mushrooms. If none of these toppings simply scream "Australia" to you, though, there is one place you can go for the ultimate Oz experience: The Australian Heritage Hotel menu runs to such out-of-the-ordinary options as emu, kangaroo, and crocodile pizzas. As AEW's Ring of Honor tag team champs Aussie Open might say, "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!"

The Aussie pie's popularity may be on the wane

Sad news for anyone wishing to experience the original Aussie pie: Although Toto's made it two decades into the new millennium, it didn't quite reach its 60th anniversary due to the pandemic putting it out of business in 2020. Other major chains in Australia are no longer offering the nation's namesake pizza. Although Domino's Australia has, in the past, featured this particular pie, it seems to have moved to the alumni section of the website as it no longer appears on the current menu. Pizza Hut, too, does not have an Aussie pizza available at present. Nor do Crust, La Porchetta, or Pizza Capers, all of which round out the list of Australia's top five pizza chains.

There are, however a few smaller pizzerias around Australia that still have this old-school pie on the menu. Jojoes Pizza in Victoria has an Aussie Pizza that comes with both ham and bacon — no pineapple, but you can get it as an add-on for a few bucks more. Also in Victoria, Aussie Pizza and Pasta offers up an Aussie pizza with bacon, egg, and onion, although again this pizza is pineapple-free, as is the Aussie Bite pizza from New South Wales' Aussie Pizza Company.

How to DIY an Aussie pie

Unless you live in Australia (or even if you do, judging by the few pizzerias that carry them), your best bet for trying an Aussie pie seems to be making it yourself. The internet, of course, has no shortage of recipes, but we were intrigued to find one put out by the Australian government itself in seemingly tacit recognition of this pie's status as a national symbol of some sort. The government pie is made with both bacon and ham but no pineapple, although other recipes have elevated this ingredient to canon status in keeping with Salvatore della Bruna's original creation. 

If you want to make your own pizza, start off with a crust of some sort, homemade if you're ambitious or store-bought if you prefer something more foolproof. Top it with barbecue sauce, sprinkle it with grated mozzarella, and top it with chopped red onion, some diced ham if you like, and Canadian bacon, if you're in the U.S. (You can stick to standard bacon if you're in Australia — or Canada, for that matter.) If you're a pineapple fan you can throw on a handful or two of chunks, or add some chile peppers, chopped tomatoes, or sliced mushrooms if you prefer any of these on a pizza.  As for the eggs, crack those on top, then bake your creation until both yolks and whites are set. You now have an Aussie-esque pizza that'll work for both breakfast and dinner.