I’m chowing down on a “Classic Deluxe” pan pizza delivered by Domino’s Pizza here in Shanghai. It’s part of an 88 RMB combo being promoted for Chinese New Year called “马到成功”, which roughly means “instant success”.
The meal includes:
- 9-inch Pan Pizza (choose between 5 options)
- Bolognaise Corn Chips
- Mini Hotdogs
- Choco Lava Cake
- 1.25L Coca Cola (or Sprite)
I ordered delivery from the Domino’s website (English) which was very easy and convenient for anyone who prefers not to make a call and engage their speaking and listening skills. I’m not sure but I think online ordering is a relatively recent addition to their website, perhaps in the past year. When I ordered, I had a free “pistachio coffee” and “bing xiang tie” (refrigerator magnet) added to my order.
The English language website is also somewhat amusing because the vast majority of the English text seems to have been translated by a non-native speaker from the Chinese. While it isn’t exactly Chinglish, the English does come across as somewhat awkward and this clashes with the perception that an American brand like Domino’s would have no trouble providing perfectly fluent native English website text.
Delivery was fast, or at least seemed that way. If they fail to deliver in 30 minutes, you’re supposed to get a free 9-inch pizza voucher. My order felt like it came within 15 minutes, though it helps that the nearest Domino’s location is less than 2 blocks away from me. The food was hot, I got my free pistachio coffee, but I don’t see my refrigerator magnet.
I also made a special request for ice that I didn’t get, but it was more a shot in the dark than an expectation since I don’t think they normally provide ice (being a take-out and delivery business instead of dine-in).
Now, in the order in which I consumed:
You get four roughly 4-inch long sausages wrapped in a sort of thin doughy crust. I’m not a big hotdog person but they weren’t bad at all. Yes, they do look a bit like penises with foreskin, especially if you cut a little urethra hole into the hot dog end.
Bolognaise Corn Chips
The idea for this side is rather strange. I can imagine chili nachos but corn chips with Italian bolognaise sauce and cheese on them? The combination doesn’t sound unappetizing but it just seems like the choice of sauce was a contrived way to link it to being “Italian”.
In its favor, the chips came with plenty of sauce and cheese. Unfortunately, this also guaranteed that the chips would be soggy when they arrived, so you end up scooping it out with a spoon instead of being able to scoop anything out with the chips themselves. The flavor is fine, even if I’m rather picky about my bolognaise sauce.
Similar side I’ve had in the past that I’d prefer: Creamy mushroom mashed potatoes (there’s also a tuna version).
These are new for Domino’s, at least here in China. Hard to say if they’re trying to compete with Pizza Hut or if this is just regular menu updating. Their normal pizzas are hand-tossed (经典手拍, “classic hand-tossed”) and they’re thinner than pan pizzas but not as thin as the pizzas from New York Style Pizza. I quite like it. I’ve also had their croissant-like “Puff” (法式千层, “French-style thousand layers”) crusts that were introduced as a special last year. Those were decently tasty as well.
So how’s Domino’s pan pizza (Q盘比萨)? I don’t know. It’s neither bad nor remarkably good. It’s just fine. I’m happy with the pizza but I’d probably still choose their hand-tossed thin crust if I had a choice (not sure if you can request a different crust since the combo seems designed to promote the new pan pizzas). I want to say I like it better than Pizza Hut here in China, but I haven’t had Pizza Hut for a long time so I’m not sure if my comparison would be fair. I also want to say Domino’s seems to give better and more toppings but again, I’m not sure if the comparison is fair.
Choco Lava Cake
The chocolate lava cake dessert is good. In comparison to past desserts included in their meal sets, this is definitely the best dessert. Their pies (pumpkin or red bean) aren’t bad but they’re small and are more like puffy croissant-ish pastries than anything like an actual “pie”. McDonald’s pocket pies are much more “pie-like”. Domino’s worst dessert has to be their Cinna Stix, and it’s because there’s not enough cinnamon, or frosting to go with it.
The meal is plenty of food for two people and if you’re not as gluttony as I am, you might even fit in a third person. Therefore, you’re looking at 30-44 RMB a person, which isn’t bad but not cheap in China either when you can easily fill up for less than 20 RMB. There’s better pizza but Domino’s has been fairly decent pizza for the price and convenience, without the high-end pretensions of Pizza Hut in China.