We had an extensive chat with self-proclaimed pizza expert HAEUN LEE (@mnmlmnm) about her ideal slice. (Spoiler: There's no corn!) From recounting her first love to her latest fling she also shares the dough on where to find the best pizza joints in Seoul!
Interview Ann Ravinther, Photos Ana Fernandez
FIRSTLY, DO YOU PREFER HAEUN OR HONEY?
Friends in the States called me Honey because Haeun was difficult for them to pronounce.
OKAY, HONEY! TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF.
My full name is Haeun Lee. In Korean age, I’m 27 years old (born 1991) and I work at a production company. I eat pizza and take pictures of friends eating pizza as well!
HOW DID YOU GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
When I was 19, I worked for a webzine called Hiphoper. I took street fashion photographs every week for them until I went to the U.S when I was 21. I always liked taking pictures even though I never learnt it professionally.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR @PIZZALOVERSONLY COME FROM?
I didn’t actually plan it to happen. Since I was eating pizza almost four times a week, I just started taking pictures with my film camera. After a while, it became a series.
SO, IT ALL HAPPENED QUITE NATURALLY! WHEN DID YOU START THE SERIES?
Last summer! Right after I got back to Korea after graduating from university.
WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO FEEL WHEN THEY LOOK AT YOUR PHOTOS? HUNGRY?
Oh, that’s a good question. I never thought about it before. I guess, I want people to look at them and wonder what pizza the people in my pictures are eating. My caption for each picture starts with the pizza place I got the pizza from.
THAT’S COOL – CAN YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU HAD PIZZA?
I think I was 7 or 8. After school, me and my sister wanted to eat out. We normally went to McDonald's or KFC but this time we went to Pizza Hut! There weren’t that many pizza places around my neighbourhood when I was small. Pizza Hut is a family restaurant so my family would eat out there whenever I wanted Pizza. There was only two brands of pizza shops at that time, I think.
I SEE AND THEY WERE MOSTLY CHAIN PIZZA JOINTS. WHAT ABOUT NOW—WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PIZZERIAS?
Maddux Pizza is my favourite. I also like Costco Pizza, Homer Pizza, Bonny’s Pizza and Booth Pizza.
WOW, IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU REALLY LOVE PIZZA! WOULD YOU SAY IT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD?
Definitely, and cake too!
FROM A SCALE OF 1 TO 10, HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE PIZZA?
I would say 10 but I’ll give it a 9 because it’s so unhealthy.
HAVE YOU HAD ANY HEALTHY PIZZAS?
I tried vegan pizza but that’s not pizza.
SO, WHAT’S PIZZA TO YOU?
I like pizza that sticks to the basics like being salty and cheesy.
BASICS ARE CLASSICS. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE KIND OF PIZZA?
Pepperoni and Artichoke pizza, which is why I go to Maddux!
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER MADDUX?
I loved Artichoke Pizza in New York and I wanted that in Korea. I searched to see if there was anything similar. They had the exact same pizza! I started going there with almost everyone I knew. I went there so often that I became friends with the owner.
DO YOU THINK THERE’S A PIZZA PHENOMENA GOING ON IN SEOUL?
I think Seoul has many trends and this is one of them. It used to be handmade burgers then healthy salads. Now, I think it’s pizza and cake.
SO THERE’S AN INTEREST GROWING IN PIZZA?
Yeah, they’re used more as accessories and props for magazines, editorials, and photo concepts now.
SO FAR, WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIZZA PICTURE TAKEN FOR YOUR INSTAGRAM @PIZZALOVERSONLY?
I think it’s this one of Jeon June. It’s not a conventional way of eating pizza. June is my friend and he really likes this photograph too. I’m glad when my friends like the pictures I take of them.
HOW DO YOU EAT YOUR PIZZA?
I usually eat them with tons of cheese powder and dried pepper. Sometimes, I add sriracha sauce. I like to eat slices really fast.
BEST PART ON A SLICE OF PIZZA?
The first bite – the pointed bit!
WHAT’S THE MOST UNIQUE PIZZA YOU’VE TASTED?
Rucola ranch pizza at Pizzarium! It tasted really good without meat and cheese but you can’t really call that pizza…
IF YOU MADE PIZZA, HOW WOULD CREATE YOUR PIZZA?
With salty cheese and a chewy dough, pepperoni and jalapeños!
SOUNDS DELICIOUS! THOUGHTS ON DEEP DISH PIZZA?
I don’t really like it because I like to hold my pizza in my hand without having to use cutlery to cut it.
WHERE’S THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD?
In Italy! I don’t remember the name since I went there when I was young. But, it was the biggest pizza I’ve ever seen and it tasted so good with dried salami and stuff!
MORE TOPPINGS OR MORE CHEESE?
HAND TOSSED OR THIN CRUST?
Hand tossed! Thin crust falls apart too easily.
WHAT’S A CRIME AGAINST PIZZA? #BADPIZZAEXPOSED
Trying to make it into a dessert by adding sweet stuff. Like Max Brenner chocolate pizza or adding sweet potato which is too common in Korea.