I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the crusade. “Are you still doing that green onion cake thingy?” they say. I like how they call it a thingy. Like it’s some sort hobby. Like needlepoint or river dance.
OK I know. It’s been awhile. Life has a way of getting in the way sometimes. It’s not like I haven’t been thinking about it. The cakes been on my mind something fierce of late. The dawn of festival season probably has something to do with it. But I guess it’s taken something truly inspiring to cure me of this literary drought.
Today I found myself wandering the festival circuit on a glorious Etown summer day. The kind of day we dream about in February. The kind of day that feels 48 hours long. The kind of day that you could drink beer all day and never get drunk. THAT day.
The kiddos frolicked through Artwalk on Whyte and kindly let us meander over to the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market. The people watching alone made this an adventure. I’m sometimes amazed at the diversity this prairie city has on display.
Our next stop was the Hawkers Market East Meets West Chinatown Fest. A celebration of local food was set to feature a number of local food vendors serving up both eastern and western fare. As the owner of a 5 year old with an obsession with all things Chinese, this seemed like a natural fit. Continue reading
T’was a lovely day for a green onion cake. A dear friend informed me that she was indeed free for a quick bite. A handy search of my site reminded me of a nearby spot I was yet to try: Blue Plate Diner!
Blue Plate is a true Edmonton gem. Tucked in along the trendy 104th Street Promenade, it had been years since I had last ventured in. It had been on my list of “must-try’s” ever since Linda Tzang challenged me to find green onion cakes on non-Asian restaurant menus (see my rant here).
An Edmonton institution.
Blue Plate has had green onion cakes as a staple appetizer for years. Our server informed me that they had tried (unsuccessfully) to remove them from the menu to make space for new items, but their loyal fans protested. There they sit stuck awkwardly on a non-Asian menu. Continue reading
Thanks for tuning in on my journey to eat through all the green onion cakes in Etown. Next up: Oodle Noodle on Jasper Avenue and 109 Street! Continue reading
Tucked in behind the McDonald’s on Calgary Trail and 51 ave you’ll find the Lemongrass Cafe, purveyor of fine Vietnamese cuisine.
The Lemon Grass Cafe
The place was jammin on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Edmonton. What seemed liked hundreds of people were enjoying this Southside gem. Despite the traffic, the staff was gracious and helpful in assembling our enormous take-out order. Continue reading
If you were lucky enough to find yourself free this Thursday past and did not catch Pecha Kucha 18, you missed out. Always a colourful mix of serious and tongue in cheek presenters, this past one had one presentation that really piqued my interest.
Dinner of Champions, by local writer Omar Mouallem set out to show that the donair, not the green onion cake was this city’s staple food. Say what?? Continue reading
The journey to taste every EGOC in the city continues at Hoang Long, West Edmonton Mall!
It was a frigid Edmonton day that saw us headed to the big mall (-32 degrees eek!) After a morning spent frolicking at the indoor waterpark, we had worked up quite an appetite. I convinced some friends to haul their brood up to the second floor to sample the green onion cakes at Hoang Long. 4 adults and 4 kiddos would make for a very messy time! Continue reading
Siu To and I were invited by CKUA’s Sarah Hoyles to speak about this project for the February 2, 2014 Arts Alive broadcast. (To hear Siu and I jump to minute 19:01, but the whole thing is pretty awesome.)
It was a beautiful Edmonton day (+9 degrees) and I was pretty amped. It was the first major radio outlet to pick up the story, and I was suitably prepped. Or at least I thought. I googled “how to speak on the radio” and was armed with helpful tips and tricks to assist me. Speak slowly and clearly. Imagine the sound coming from your stomach, not your throat (this made me sound like a man #justsayin). Calm blue ocean.
There was however one question I was not entirely prepared for. And it’s probably the most important question. What do I want? So here it is, my wish list for this project: Continue reading
Fresh off our interview with CKUA, I convince Siu to join me for lunch. I had been meaning to try The Underground’s “Green Onion Cake Sandwich”, especially after Linda Tzang suggested she wouldn’t consider green onion cakes Edmonton’s signature dish until she saw it on local bar and restaurant menus. You don’t get more local than The Underground.
The place is located literally underground. Escalators transport you into the belly of an old bank building right on Jasper Avenue. The space used to be for storage, but now it’s a trendy watering-hole offering countless craft beers on tap. We aren’t here for the beer. Continue reading
Tucked away behind the hustle and bustle of 109th street you’ll find Happy Garden. Nestled among the big trees and old houses of Parkallen stands an Edmonton institution. Credited as being the first home of the Edmonton green onion cake, it was Siu To who pointed me in its direction.
“Best green onion cakes in Edmonton. Even now. They still make it like I showed them,” he told me.
The current owner worked as the head chef for Siu until she and her family bought it from him in 1986. It doesn’t look like much has changed. There are rumblings online that it may have seen some renovations, but I don’t detect any obvious upgrades. Continue reading
When I first embarked on this green onion cake odyssey, all roads seemed to lead to Siu To. Here I was, moments from meeting him. With my notebook and iPhone on the ready, I found a table in the courtyard outside of Zenari’s in Manulife Place and waited for him to be a no-show.
After all, who the hell am I?
“A self-professed Edmonton enthusiast on a quest to elevate the green onion cake to its rightful place as Edmonton’s Official Dish.” I sound like a flake. Continue reading