Student Login

How Green Onion Cake Man became a beloved restaurant staple in Edmonton

By Landon Hickok on December 7, 2023

If you’re a resident of the city of Edmonton, there’s probably a good chance you’ve heard about Green Onion Cake Man. Located on Alberta Avenue, it has primarily been responsible for the local popularity of the green onion cake. And the same owner has overseen it all since the beginning.

The exterior of the Green Onion Cake Man restaurant on Albert Avenue

Sui To is the long-time owner of the famous Green Onion Cake Man restaurant in Edmonton. Since immigrating to Canada, he has shared what he knows best. Since the late 1970s, Sui’s restaurants have gone through multiple brands and names. But in 2019, he stuck with something to resemble what people say they do better than anyone else.

Sui To stands in front of the restaurant’s kitchen and front counter

Initially, Sui never imagined starting a small restaurant business. His decision to come to Canada was prompted by his brother, who lived in Edmonton at the time. Sui wanted to make sure his two children would get a good education. Since he lived in a heavily populated Hong Kong then, he implied that it would be too difficult there. Once he arrived, he went to discover what opportunities were laid out for him.

“I frequently visited many Chinese restaurants, and I find out they have different tastes and items from what I know. So instantly, because I’m looking for opportunities, I sensed a possibility that I could run a restaurant to introduce Northern Chinese cuisine to the Edmonton public.”

Sui sees cooking as a vital part of community building. He says where he’s from, instead of going out to eat at restaurants, they would always invite each other over to their houses. So naturally, most people develop a good sense of cooking.

The famous green onion cake

As for the Green Onion Cake itself, he believes its popularity stems from a change-up of the Western culture’s idea of what bread should look and taste. A thick, savoury and crispy pancake that blew past people’s expectations. It was never intended to be the stand-out item on the menu. He also says the city’s cultural diversity plays a big factor in the curiosity about new food cuisine.

With the last few years holding many challenges for restaurant businesses, Sui emphasizes that no one should be afraid to start a new restaurant business. At 83 years old, Sui knows he’s very near the end of his career. But he’s hoping that more people will hold to the same passion that he did.

“There’s not much better place for an individual to run a business than a restaurant business. It’s a small investment, without needing many abilities, so it’s an easy run. If you want to create opportunity for yourself, and you’re enthusiastic about public service, I think running a restaurant business is a good choice.”

The interior of the Green Onion Cake Man restaurant

Sui says despite the difficulties of the last few years, people will always be drawn to food. Running a restaurant business can be a safe, stable choice to bring out a new unique perspective. Even after all of this time, Sui’s perspective continues to satisfy the curiosity of newcomers.

timeline by Landon Hickok



Follow Us!

Like Us On Facebook!