Edmonton’s Original Green Onion Cake: Noodle Maker

The green onion cake. Savoury, crispy and oh so satisfying, it is one of my favourite indulgences, but only when done right. I’m not a fan of the flat pancake-like versions at the Fringe that many others adore; my preference is for the doughnut-shaped cakes – airy, and really, with even more surface area to absorb hot oil, it’s on a different plane of existence. When I heard about Noodle Maker, opened by the man who is said to have introduced the tasty treat to Edmonton, my curiosity was piqued – what would the “original” green onion cake be like?

On Thursday, another miserably cold day, Kathryn and I made our way to Noodle Maker for lunch. Just past the gates heralding Old Chinatown, it seemed to be a quiet afternoon for the restaurant – only one other customer to be seen during our visit (given how bustling the cafeteria in Canada Place is, I had to wonder how many people know this place exists).

The interior isn’t much to look at, save the artificial cherry tree blooming from the take out counter, and an antique stove in the corner. The dated décor contrasted amusingly with the large flat panel television screen mounted to the wall (tuned to a Chinese news channel), and a shiny new Mac at the till.

The menu features dishes from many Asian cuisines, including Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Thai(take a look here). I opted for a ramen bowl with teriyaki chicken ($8.50), while Kathryn chose the rice stick stir fry ($11). Of course, we also ordered a green onion cake ($3.50) to share.

The green onion cake didn’t look like much, but looks were deceiving! While it was the flat version, pulled apart, there were discernable, flaky layers inside. With a crispy, salty exterior, we had to pull ourselves away to try our entrees. It really was worth venturing out for, and would be something I’d return specifically to order (we both agreed that the name of the restaurant really should celebrate their green onion cake instead).

Noodle Maker

Green onion cake

The entrees were good, but didn’t live up to their green onion cake counterpart. The butter soy broth and ramen were all right – broth not overly salty, and ramen well-cooked, but neither wowed me. I did like the inclusion of vegetables though – bean sprouts, corn, and spinach. The teriyaki chicken was probably the wrong type of meat to order (especially after reading Lillian’s review) – it wasn’t as moist as it could have been. Kathryn enjoyed her stir-fry, noting that the rice cakes were very fresh, but like me, also kept returning to the green onion cakes.

Noodle Maker

Teriyaki chicken ramen

Noodle Maker

Rice stick stir-fry with pork, shiitake mushrooms and su choy

Noodle Maker has started a $7.67 “popular lunch express” feature for either dine-in or take-out, a great deal that includes a vegetable stir fry, a ramen noodle or rice bowl and two toppings (teriyaki chicken, tiger beef, pork ribs, shrimp, basa fish tempura). On January 18, 2011, from 11am-2pm, those that register on their Facebook page will be charged just $5.

There are definitely a few more dishes that I’d be interested in returning to try. And given its proximity to the Arts District, it’d be an interesting choice for pre-show dining. Not that I’d need an excuse to come back for the green onion cakes.

Noodle Maker
9653 102 Avenue
(780) 428-0021
Daily 11am-10pm

8 thoughts on “Edmonton’s Original Green Onion Cake: Noodle Maker

  1. I never used to like green onion cake. Then one day my friend ordered it at dim sum and I tried it again and now I love it, weird. I’ll eat both kinds. I think the T&T frozen ones that you have to pan fry yourself aren’t bad either. Hope you’re having a great weekend, Sharon. Thanks for this review, I’ve yet to try this place.

  2. I love green onion cakes, ESP the airy fluffy ones. My favorites are at lemongrass and Friends and Neighbors.. Perfect

  3. You should try their beef noodle soup. I had it the last time I was there (based on the the owner’s recommendation) after just having come home from China and I was craving Chinese noodles. The noodles were great, the owner was very friendly, and the whole decor combined made me feel like I was back in China again.

  4. Yum. I love green onion cakes! Flat ones do it for me best, but sometimes it’s nice to have the fluffy ones too. Although they can be a bit too oily, I like the packaged ones at T&T and Planet Organic. Pop them in the toaster and you’re set! Crispy with salty green onion bits…my mouth is watering….

  5. lequan – emergency freezer rations are always a good idea, especially lately, with all the weekends the snow has meant little motivation to go out, heh. Hope you had a good weekend as well!

    Jill – I’ll have to try them some time!

    FoodieMcPoon – do give it a go! Sounds like the beef ramen is the one to order though.

    Jeanie – I’m assuming the person who served us was the owner, and if it was, he was very friendly. I really will have to go back and try the beef noodle.

    Ellen – you’re getting me hungry!

  6. Yeah, their beef noodle soup or the “niu rou mian” is very good (may need to ask for it to be less spicy if you’re not inclined towards spice).
    @Sharon: after trying their terriyaki chicken that first time I’ve had it about 2 times since and the presentation has been a bit different each time (as I compare the pics from when you took it and when I went in February shortly after they opened). Oh, and yes @jeanie & sharon you’re both right that the owner is usually the person greeting you. He is indeed the originator of the ‘onion cake’ in Edmonton. In fact, the ones you get at T&T the packaged ones (one of the brands) he used to own it until he sold it away. The pulled pork sandwiches are also quite tasty. The apples are a nice compliment to the meat; just wish it was a bit bigger!

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