If you google the word Frajolaki you see quite a few menus from restaurants in Saskatchewan, offering either beef or chicken versions. Also a few articles about how the word is slang local to Saskatchewan. In fact one article from the CBC states that it is rare at that: “Frajolaki is once again the least commonly used term, with 13% of respondents indicating they use this term at least sometimes.”
The spelling sometimes changes between Fajolaki, Fragolaki and Frajolaki but the latter seems to be the most popular. And quite often it’s referred to as “Fraggle Rocky” or sometimes the “Saskatchewan Sandwich”. So what is it? One comment on the CBC articles says “My favourite is Fajolaki, it’s what we call a beef or chicken marinated souvlaki served on a sub or torpedo bun. Found at Greek restaurants, the sandwich isn’t actually Greek, just a Saskatchewan thing.”
Another comment: “Frajolaki, a popular dish on Greek menus in Saskatchewan, is actually not Greek at all but a creation from our very own province! A frajolaki or fraj, is a sandwich, beef or chicken, marinated like souvlaki, grilled and then put on a torpedo bun with onions and tomatoes.“
From “akucanada” on reddit:
“I don’t know much but growing up in Greek restaurants this is what I remember. One of the oldest beef fragolaki sandwiches was served at Manos (no longer in menu). Back in 1981. Manolis Barlas with his two other brothers. Manolis previously worked in the kitchen with Peter Rizo. There traditional recipes passed down from one generation to the next. Torpedo bun (or any chewy bread) lightly toasted, beef tenderloin thinly sliced, Greek seasoning, thin sliced onions and tomatoes. I started working at Manos on idywyld in 1980s and the sandwich was present then and on the original menu and remained mostly unchanged until they removed it for my the menu about 8 years ago.”
So it’s a Greek steak or chicken sandwich on a sub or torpedo bun. Let’s figure out a recipe then….
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
4 palm sized pieces of steak
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine or red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
4 garlic cloves , minced
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 red onion cut into slivers
4 torpedo or sub buns
Tzatziki Sauce (optional):
1 medium cucumber, shredded
1 cup cold plain Greek yogurt
1 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped dill
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Combine the oil, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Put chicken or steak and marinade in a large zip lock bag, press as much as the air out as you can, and seal. Chill for 1 hour or up to 24 hours (the longer you can marinate the more tender and tasty the meat will be).
The Tzatziki sauce should be prepared the night before to allow the flavors to combine nicely. Shred the cucumber on a cheese grater and try to squeeze out the excess water. Then just mix all ingredients with a spoon and refrigerate over night.
Grill your chicken or beef on the BBQ to your desired temp and doneness. And while your at the grill, butter and toast that bun (with butter)! Then generously slather tzatziki on the buns, add your meat and top with sliced tomatoes and or red onions.
Have you got a better recipe or more info on Frajolaki? Then leave us a comment below and we’ll update this page!
Turns out that the Blue Diamond in Saskatoon still has it on their menu:
And The Flamingo Restaurant in Melville has it on their menu as Fragolaki (see video review above):
And another in Yorkton at Melrose Place:
4 thoughts on “Frajolaki – The Saskatchewan Greek Sandwich”
I’ve had frajolaki many times – it was very common in Saskatoon in the 80s/90s, when Saskatoon’s resaturant scene was dominated by restaurants with hybrid Greek/Italian/Steakhouse menus. It’s much rarer now, as Saskatoon’s restaurant market has undergone a massive transformation (for the better!) in the last 20 years as the city has grown and attracted large numbers of immigrants.
Your version is a bit off (although it still looks tasty 🙂 – the beef version typically has the beef sliced very thin – maximum of 1/4 inch, but usually even thinner. The chicken version is usually thicker, but it would still be a butterflied chicken breast. There is no tzatziki on the sandwich. The bun is often buttered with garlic butter and then grilled, as well.
The frajolaki sandwich pre-dates Mani’s as suggested above – I was first introduced to this gastronomical delight at the A4 Nightclub on 2nd Ave in the late 70s (where I was also introduced to tequila sunrise😂). I concur with Saskatoon Guy with respect to preparation although typically the steak was not sliced but rather pounded very thin. I’m making them this weekend 🤗
In Greek, “frantzola” refers to any bread, shaped as a free form loaf, as opposed to the traditional round “boule” shape. The origin of the name refers to a loaf of “French” bread. The diminutive firm of the word is “frantzolaki”. Using the regional, mountain or “vlahiko” pronunciation changes it to “franjolaki”. It appears that someone made a sandwich in a small loaf of crusty French bread, perhaps in the absence of pita bread?), described it as a “franjolaki” (small loaf of bread) and it stuck! This is the first time I’ve ever heard of it. Must be a Saskatchewan thing!
A Reddit friend pointed out that this is sometimes referred to as a “Saskatchewan Sandwich”
Here’s what the internets say about that:
Saskatchewan Sandwich is a seemingly random phrase used in many YouTube Poops.
It originated from the YTP “A Fair Amount Of Ow! In The Toilet”, a YTP of the book Owls In The Family by Farley Mowat, by YouTube Pooper PhillyRulez76.
The original book is set in Saskatchewan, and at one point the main character eats a tuna sandwich. On the same page that it says the words “Saskatchewan” and “sandwich”, the characters catch a pet owl and name it “Wol” after the owl from “Winnie The Pooh”.
As the book mentioned Saskatchewan, the sandwich, and the owl on the same page, in the YTP, the line “There they decided to name the owl Wol”, was edited to read “There they decided to name the owl Saskatchewan Sandwich.”
“Saskatchewan Sandwich” then became a running joke in the YTP community, especially in YTPs by PhillyRulez76. In his SpongeBob YTP “WhoBob PantsPants Has Fun With Farts And ForF”, one of the menu items is a “Saskatchewan Sandwich”.
Many YouTube Poopers call owls “Saskatchewan Sandwich”.