Donairs vs Green Onion Cakes: A Showdown!

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??

Oh he gave our fair EGOC a nod: “Some think it’s the green onion cake.  It’s novel to outsiders, it’s friggin delicious, but it has its limitations.”

He goes on to list these limitations:

  1. Outside of festivals, it is rarely sought after as the main dish; and
  2. After 8 pm it’s hard to find a green onion cake outside of Chinatown.

Before I begin my rebuttal Mr. Mouallem, I should first thank you for starting this important conversation.  Edmontonians need to start giving this issue some thought and the Pecha Kucha platform is a fantastic way to get the ball rolling.  I found your presentation, engaging and well researched.  I must admit that it is my paralyzing fear of public speaking that has prevented me from applying to make my own pitch for the green onion cake.  I’m a work in progress.

But, Mr. Mouallem you are wrong about the green onion cake!  First is your position that it cannot be a staple food as it is rarely sought after as the “main dish”.  I have heard this critique from people before: “It’s not really a food.  It’s more of a snack.  I could come on board if we called it “Edmonton’s Signature Snack”, but food?”

Well the folks down at Genghis Quality Foods have already locked this down.  For years this sign has graced the corridors of Chinatown, but has seemingly gone unnoticed by Edmontonians.

Edmonton's Signature Snack

Edmonton’s Signature Snack?

But regardless, I am not sure who or when it was decided that a staple food has to be a meal.  After all, rice is a staple.  So is chapatti.  Perogies (often mentioned as an alternative to the EGOC for Edmonton’s signature dish) are also a far cry from a meal.  Perhaps you have a bias?  Almost as though you want to set the criteria to only allow for the donair to emerge as victor.

On your second point, I can only say that you haven’t looked.  I have already posted about the various places in the city where one could get a green onion cake outside of Chinatown.  This list is growing daily.  Many of these establishments are bars open well beyond your arbitrary 8pm cut-off.  Have you ventured down to The Underground for a tasty green onion cake sandwich?  How about On the Rocks to sample theirs?  Blue Plate Diner has had theirs (served with a side of sour cream) on the menu for years.

Perhaps your reasoning has more to do with the fact that you believe that in a contest about deliciousness, your donair would best the EGOC.  To this I cannot argue.  I am a rapacious consumer of donairs.  You got me!  They are DELICIOUS.  I skip the sweet sauce in favour of garlic and shudder at the thought of adding cheese, but DAAYUUM.  SO GOOD.  But taste, good sir, is subjective.  I know many who shudder at the idea of biting into that highly processed meat-like substance.  To many it is the Mediterranean equivalent of pink slime.

And perhaps most importantly, they’ve already been claimed.  Halifax got them.  They win.  They have a hilarious  blog. Why would we invest even a stitch more energy in raising their profile here in Edmonton when we already have a perfectly delicious foodstuff in the EGOC?  Or we could join forces (as @Luzzara’s suggested) and encourage the proliferation of donairs wrapped in Green Onion Cake?  The Underground is already using EGOC as a bun.  Perhaps as a pita is an even better fit?

Thanks again for furthering the conversation.  We can grab an EGOC after 8 on Whyte.  I’m buying.

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3 Responses to Donairs vs Green Onion Cakes: A Showdown!

  1. Pingback: Only Here for the Food » Blog Archive » Food Notes for March 17, 2014

  2. Pingback: EGOC Donair. I Repeat... EGOC DONAIR! - Green Onion Cakes

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