I couldn’t tell you how it happened, nor why it remains this way, but green onion cakes are synonymous with Edmonton’s festival season.
For the uninitiated, green onion cakes are round, pancake-like discs of flour, water, chopped green onions, salt, and sesame oil, fried flat on an oil-drenched grill. That may not sound appetizing when I spell it out like that, but it’s surprisingly yummy.
Each cake is cut into smaller pieces – usually quartered – and these pieces are then dipped in condiments. The holy trinity in these parts is plum sauce, soy sauce and Sambal Oelek hot sauce.
But if you’re from Edmonton, you already know that.
These Genghis Grill take-home green onion cakes aim for convenience, and they nail it. Put them on a tray in a toaster oven, warm them up until they’re hot and crispy on the outside, then cut ‘em up and eat ‘em.
The flavour is like the ones at Edmonton festival vendors, just not quite as fresh. It’s a simple but perfect combination of tastes — greasy and salty, with an onion and sesame oil kick.
The texture is also just right. It’s chewy and dense, but not so dense that the dough can’t wick up soy sauce. There are layers of folded, overlapping dough between the scattered green onions, making for something akin to the world’s heaviest, flattest croissant-style pastry.
They’ll never replace the fresh – and hilariously overpriced – between-plays snack at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, but in a pinch, they’ll do just fine.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $5.99 for a four-pack of CD-sized green onion cakes at Planet Organic.
Value for cash money: $1.50 per cake is a whole lot cheaper than the price at a festival vendor’s cart. But they’re also much smaller than the 7- or 8-inch cakes you’d spend $3 or $4 for.
Availability: I got mine at Planet Organic in Edmonton, but I’ve seen them at other local grocery stores, too. I noticed a bag of them in the U of A Sobeys deli area. Other brands may be available in the freezer aisle.
Nutrition?: The package isn’t much help on portion control. The provided nutritional info is per 30 grams (they call that one serving, which is absurd), and no per-cake approximate weight is given. A quick trip to the kitchen scale says that each cake in the package I bought is roughly 90 grams. That means that per 90-gram cake, there are 300 calories, 13.5 grams of fat, 315 mg of salt, and 6 grams of protein. And that’s not counting dipping sauces.
Packaging: The only way I know these are made by Genghis Grill is because the shelf tag at Planet Organic said so, and because the lettering on the bagged packs at Sobeys is the same as on these. There’s no address, no phone number, and no branding on this package at all. What gives?
The verdict: Great for scratching the green-onion-cake itch, especially out of festival season. Less fresh, but also much less oily, than the fried-fresh festival staple.