Inside the famous Filipino bakery chain from the US

March 5th, 2023
Hailed as the "Home of the Famous Hot Pan De Sal," Valerio's Tropical Bake Shop in Mississauga proves innovation isn't a bad thing.

You can tell a lot about Filipinos by what they eat — from who they are to where they come from. With over seven thousand islands, our country demands we get creative with our culinary pursuits. We fish, forage, boil, grill, roast, steam and bake using a pugon; and use ingredients from the region we're in. But every once in a while, we all seek simplicity. Often, it's in our breakfast. Almusal is best prepared with hot coffee and fresh pandesal from a brown bag. Ah yes, it doesn't take much to make our day good.

It's no surprise that Pinoys who move find comfort — some semblance of home, if you will — in places that offer familiar foods. For immigrants, eating pandesal for breakfast can be a uniting experience, connecting them to the Filipino community in Canada and to their old selves before they came here. Whatever they're looking for, they'll find it and more at Valerio's Tropical Bake Shop in Mississauga. Below, everything you need to know about this popular Filipino bakery from the United States.

1. Recipes are handed down over generations

Valerio's has a rich history that dates back to the early 1950s, when founders Victor and Milagros Valerio created their family's recipe for fried dough. From its humble beginnings in the Philippines, the bakery grew in popularity and eventually made its way to Southern California when the family moved there. Hailed as the "Home of the Famous Hot Pan De Sal," Valerio's has never rested on its laurels. It has continued to evolve with the times while maintaining the quality that made it famous in the first place.

Bakery interior with a map mural and shelves stocked with bread

Having been passed down through generations of the Valerio family, the bakery introduced new recipes and flavours while always staying true to its roots. Whether you're craving classic pandesal or trendy Chizmosa (a cheesy "pun-desal"), you can count on Valerio's for authentic Filipino delicacies with a taste of nostalgia.

2. It features an array of Filipino bread, snacks and desserts

Valerio's has every sweet and savoury treat imaginable. From the creamy ube -cheese combination to the refreshing buko pandan, the shop takes Philippine flavours to the next level by incorporating them into a wide range of baked goods, pastries and desserts.

Round bread in plastic bags with a label that says

Customers can sample typical panaderya offerings, festival-favourite kakanin, and merienda staples such as cassava cake, turon, and empanada. And for those who love a good crunch, the adobong mani is a must-try.

Stacks of rice cake, Filipino donut bread and purple yam bars

Unsure where to start? You can't go wrong with Valerio's baked siopao. Proof: I gobbled it up before I could even take a photo! Its soft bun is stuffed with a savoury-sweet meat and egg mixture that is filling and satisfying and renders sauce unnecessary.

3. Bread is baked fresh from the kitchen

Valerio's doesn't offer clearance sales, not because it can't afford to but because its daily stock of 400+ pandesal is usually gone by the end of the day. Despite originating in America, the bakery chain makes every item on the menu inside its kitchen.

A tattooed baker flattening dough with a rolling pin

Using large mixers, pastry machines, and ovens is standard practice for a bakeshop of its size, but the real magic happens after. Talented bakers shape, stuff and crimp each piece by hand, lending that signature Valerio's touch.

A baker storing freshly baked Filipino rice cake on a rack

Most baked goods come in neat to-go packaging with clear labels showing ingredients and expiration dates. But be warned: you may finish these goods quickly, as they are equally delicious as the pastries in display cases.

4. Filipino staff create a welcoming atmosphere

Step one foot inside Valerio's, and you are instantly transported to a place that feels like home. The hustle and bustle of the outside world fade away, and the inviting aroma of melted margarine from trays of Spanish bread welcomes you. Lively Tagalog chatter fills the air, creating an atmosphere of warmth and familiarity. Husbands call their wives to ask what else they want while staff recommend their favourite products to first-time visitors. Old and new Filipino songs thrum in the background and tempt you to stay longer and shop more.

Four bakery staff smiling and posing with a peace sign

In spite of its success and expansion, Valerio's remains a family business run by a team of Filipinos who have built lives in Canada themselves. "Para kaming pamilya rito (We're like a family here)," one of their staff described what it was like working at the bakeshop since it opened.

Two smiling bakery staff holding a scooper and trays

During peak seasons, international students and new Canadians are also welcomed into the team, adding to the diverse and inclusive nature of the bakery.

5. It's located beside Jollibee and a Filipino supermarket

Valerio's may not have a dine-in space. Prices may also be premium for what's considered staples back in the Philippines (a 12-pack pandesal costs $6.49 + tax). Still, customers are willing to wait in long lines that stretch from brunch into the late afternoon to get their hands on their favourite baked goods — and relive childhood memories.

A busy bakery with a long line of customers

Valerio's location makes the trip worth it, though. After indulging in a piece of pandesal or two (or more), customers can burn the carbs with a grocery run at Seafood City, where Filipino and Asian ingredients, snacks, and other treats are plenty. Alternatively, a quick trip to Jollibee for its famous Chicken Joy or sweet spaghetti with cut-up hotdogs can cure the longing for home.

A car park overlooking a building with signs that say

800 Boyer Boulevard houses all three, offering patrons a one-stop shop for all their Filipino food needs. With such a convenient location and delectable offerings, Valerio's is sure to start any Filipino's day — or week — on a positive note.

Valerio's Tropical Bakeshop

  • 800 Boyer Blvd, Mississauga ON L2V 2Y1

  • (905) 542-7967

  • Daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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