Siu To, now known throughout Edmonton as “the green onion cake man”, came from northern China and started his first restaurant in 1978. His green onion cakes, a crispy and chewy pancake made with unyeasted dough and loaded with green onions, were an immediate hit in his new home. At the time, no other restaurants in the city were selling them and they were quite the novelty, so fans went to one of To’s two restaurants, Happy Garden or Mongolian Food Experience, to satisfy their craving. They didn’t become a true Edmonton staple until they began selling in the festival circuit, popping up at Taste of Edmonton, Folk Festival and the Fringe Theatre Festival.
To this day, the green onion cake booth always has the longest line at events around town. Now, many restaurants around the city are selling the flaky cakes, both in a pancake shape and a doughnut shape.