pabalos island pies toronto

This new Toronto pizza joint does Detroit-style pies with Filipino ingredients

A new pinoy pizza pop-up has taken over the back of a Toronto bar: Think gooey Detroit-style pan pizzas, but covered in longanisa sausages. 

Pabalos Island Pies is putting Pilipinx flare on the Motor City deep dish classic with weekly pop-ups behind the Dundas West spot Wallflowerpabalos island pies torontoIf you're team 'No Pineapple On Pizza', here's your chance to exit the room.

The concept by besties Sean Santos, Eric Tigley, and Chuck Ortiz brings three staple pies doused in island flavours: coconut cream, roasted pork shoulder, fish sauce caramel, and of course, piña. "I think deep down we always knew we’d start a food business together," said Ortiz.

pabalos island pies toronto"This is the first pop up that all three have participated in together, and it has truly been a blessing during these days of uncertainty." 

pabalos island pies torontoFor the Pabalos team, landing on the recipes was a months-long process. The final product: two-day fermented, focaccia-style dough made with rice flour ("What's a Pilipinx meal without rice?") and tomato sauce with hints of chili, lemongrass, and banana ketchup. 

pabalos island pies torontoThere are three main pies, ranging from $28 to $32. The Lola Pie is an ode to the slightly thinner and denser-style pizza, with dollops of coconut cream, Thai basil, and their signature sauce. 

pabalos island pies torontoThe Bespren Longanizza Sausage Pie brings the Pilipinx silog staples to the forefront with a fried egg and a mixture made from this slightly sweet sausage. 

The Tinapa Papa has smoked sardines, roast garlic citrus dressing and cotija cheese. 

pabalos island pies torontoFlavours on rotation include a veggie pie, the OMG, which stands for Oh My Gulay (roasted kabucha squash, coconut milk, and shiitake) and the Plantation Pie (pineapple, annatto-rubbed roasted pork and fish sauce caramel). 

pabalos island pies torontoPre-orders can be made up until the same day of the pop-ups, which take place on weekends. Every box comes with a free hand-drawn illustration by Tigley (it might be a Care Bear, or Optimus Prime.) 

"We now have a product that represents our culture in a unique way," said Santos, who devised the menu.  

"It’s just really cool seeing people eat our pies and be surprised by the flavours we created.  We are slowly carving out our own slice of this diverse pie (Tito joke)." 

pabalos island pies toronto

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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