A west-end restaurant serves up a crispy, savoury Brazilian treat.
Posters recently appeared along Dundas Street West, the centre of Toronto’s Portuguese-speaking community, advertising the “Festival do Pastel.” Starting a few weeks ago, the local restaurant Brazilian Star (1242 Dundas Street West) began serving pastels, a street food akin to an empanada, every Thursday.
The restaurant previously had only a Portuguese version of the pastel, and the predominately Brazilian clientele often asked for their own country’s version of the fried snack. Brazilian Star hired someone to make the pastels on Thursdays, and according to server Bruna Lima it’s one of the only places in town that sells them. The flat, doughy snacks are available with different fillings: meat, cheese, pizza, chicken, and guava/cheese.
The carne pastel ($3.98) is filled with tasty spiced beef, while the cheese one is stuffed with an oozing, mild white cheese. The shell is a dimpled, oily dough reminiscent of Chinese egg-roll pastry or a deep-fried wonton. Bruna says the pastels may have an Asian origin, as they are frequently sold by Chinese vendors in Brazilian markets. It’s one of the many examples of cultural fusion from this intensely diverse South American country.
Spice City Toronto explores Toronto’s great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and strip-mall joints serving food from all corners of the world.