Over pints of beer last summer, Megan Chan and Erynn Mayes reminisced about Aussie meat pies. Yes, meat pies. They didn’t chat about celebrity gossip, make-up or shopping but, rather, hand-held meat pies they used to indulge in at football games in the land Down Under. Megan and Erynn, who both spent a year in Australia, missed the pies so badly that they felt the need to do something about it. “Why not try making our own Aussie meat pies?” And with that, the best friends went to work. What followed was two months of intense R&D consisting of online research, recipe testing which included getting their all-butter puff pastry down pat. Debuting for the first time at Toronto Underground Market in October of last year, Kanga Handheld Meat Pies were an instant hit; they sold over 500 meat pies at the event with guests asking for seconds. “It was a dream come true for us,” said the Kanga co-founders.
Starting this week and for the first time ever, Kanga meat pies will be available at Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Kensington Market. I had the opportunity to try these individually handheld, buttery pies and oh boy, were they ever fantastic! Different than the British meat pie, which is typically shared and accompanied with mash and gravy, these grab-and-go Aussie meat pies fit perfectly in one hand, freeing up your other for beer (or your beverage of choice). Aussie meat pies also packs more gravy in its puff pastry than their British counterparts.
Kanga’s line-up of hand-held meat pies include: The Traditional Aussie with minced beef in a rich beef, tomato and vegemite gravy; The Steak & Bacon with tender cuts of steak and bacon braised with Amsterdam Nut Brown Ale and a savoury gravy; The Butter Chix with chicken curry in a rich tomato cream sauce; and, finally, Creamy Zucchini with roasted zucchini and caramelized onion with a garlicky cream-cheese sauce. And just so you know, when I asked Megan what inspired the name “Kanga,” she said it’s a nod to Australia’s most iconic animal. “There’s absolutely no kangaroo meat in our pies!” laughs Megan.
Kanga will be hosting launch events at Hot Oven Bakery on Kingsway on September 6th to September 8th, and Hot Oven Bakery on Roncesvalles on September 14th and 15th.