Food

Instant Yakisoba Should Be a Lot More Popular Than It Is in the United States

If you like chow mein, you just might love Maruchan or Myojo Japanese instant yakisoba. If you don’t, you might not know how to love.

Just like chow mein noodles, yakisoba is stir-fried although unlike the Chinese version which is prepared in a wok which provides that delicious “wok hei” flavor (the “wok’s breath”), the Japanese version is prepared on a teppan (basically a griddle). And as far as I know, or have tasted, there is no teppan breath, so the noodles and toppings have got to do most of the heavy lifting which it does because the Japanese mayo (Kewpie is the Miracle Whip of Japan), aonori (green seaweed flakes), to beni shoga (pickled julienned ginger) make this dish distinctively Japanese.

Photo Description: a yakisoba stand at a festival in Japan. They have several products on display for sale with a two guys manning the booth. One is on the teppanyaki with a mound of yakisoba, and the other guy looking over the kushiyaki.
Yakisoba is a popular festival food in Japan, especially when everything is under $4. Image by Guilhem Vellut

Yes, They Are Stir-Fried Noodles

One time in Colorado, I tried out a Japanese themed restaurant with an item they had called “yaki udon.” So I asked dude working the kitchen if it was a stir fried udon noodle, and he replied back “you’re think of yakitori.” Well, ok, but if you know basic Japanese, you would know that “yaki” just means grilled, and “tori” means chicken, so “yaki udon” should mean grilled udon noodles…. he just walked away.

Photo Description: It looks like another festival with a Japanese guy with two metal spatulas mixing up some yakisoba on a teppan (grill).
The teppan or griddle being worked by the guy with the receding hairline.

Even if You’re on a Budget, Everyday Can Be a Festival for You for Less Than $3

A festival of noodles that is, and only if you have about $2.50 per serving. If you got that kind of money, here are the two most common brands of yakisoba which are either sold instant or fresh:

  • Maruchan (Toyo Suisan): they go way back with instant noodles – Maruchan’s story first began in 1953 when a young and determined Japanese visionary named Kazuo Mori started a small, frozen fish distributorship in Tokyo. Through hard work, commitment and perseverance, Mr. Mori’s modest company soon grew into a successful food company, known as Toyo Suisan. And they weren’t going to stop at frozen fish. They were just getting started.
  • Myojo: this company has some amazing air dried noodles – manufactures and markets processed products. The company offers instant noodles, fresh noodles, Italian pasta, and Japanese noodles. The company was founded in 1950 and is based in Tokyo, Japan with additional offices in Singapore, Malaysia, and the United States. As of March 27, 2007, Myojo Foods Co., Ltd. operates as a subsidiary of Nissin Foods Holdings Co., Ltd.
Photo Description: Myojo Ippei-chan Yakisoba Japanese style noodles. Net wt. 4.77 oz (135.35g). The packaging is black, yellow and orangish red.
PhoA party in a tray starts with either Myojo or Toyo Suisan.

Instant Yakisoba Products

These are the most commonly available and easy to find instant yakisoba products although I recommend you start with either Myoyo or Maruchan (the Japanese version) products.

  • Maruchan Gotsumori Sauce (172g) *this product is primarily only sold in Japanese markets.
  • Maruchan Spicy Chicken, Chicken, to Beef Teriyaki flavors (4 oz)
  • Myojo Ippeichan Yakisoba, original (4.77 oz)
  • Myojo Ippeichan Yakisoba, shio (salt) (4.77oz)
  • Nissin U.F.O Sosu Yakisoba (4.5oz/128g)
  • Sapporo Ichiban Chow Mein Yakisoba (3.6oz)

If you’re a basic bitch (the standard packaged ingredients):

  • Sauce: yakisoba sauce and sometimes mayo.
  • Dehydrated veggies: it’s commonly something that looks like cabbage.

If you fancy (if you’re being extra with your ingredients):

  • Meat: add ham, chicken, shrimp, or whatever you have because most meats will work nicely.
  • Sauce: extra yakisoba sauce (Otafuku is a popular brand) and Japanese mayo (Kewpie is a popular brand).
  • Fresh vegetables: I go hard on the vegetables, and I highly recommend a bunch of shredded to diced cabbage, sliced onions, julienned carrots, and bean sprouts.
  • Additional toppings: I think beni shoga to aonori are critical in topping it all off.

How to Prepare Maruchan (Toyo Suisan) Instant Yakisoba

You can just stick with the hot water route, or you can try and integrate some of the fancier ingredients I mentioned above (I’ll also be providing additional information below with additional details).

Photo Description: Maruchan (Toyo Suisan) gotsumori style yakisoba.
If you have $2.48, 4.8oz of noodle goodness can be all yours.

You can keep eating your Nissin, Sanyo, and Maruchan instant ramen, or you can live the fancy life like they do in Japan by eating yakisoba (fancy as in having a little variety in your life).

Photo Description: the lid is being pulled back from the instant yakisoba tray. Inside you can see the noodles and three packets.
I just happened to get the one with the mustard mayo which is the “gotsumori style”

If you want to go hard on flavors, you can always buy extra yakisoba sauce: Otafuku offers a 17.6 oz bottle for around $9 although at most Japanese markets, along with a 500g bottle of Kewpie, Japanese mayo for $7.59 directly through the Kewpie shop. There is also the make it from scratch route too, but if you’re buying instant yakisoba, that’s probably a stretch.

Photo Description: The lid is fully pulled back so that you can see the squared shaped noodles in the square shaped tray.
PHoPeakaboo

Oh hello you wavy mound of noodles waiting to be devoured.

Photo Description: The ingredients label can be clearly seen with the "wheat noodle with sauce, along with product of Japan."
Why are you even reading this, nothing good could come out of it.

All you have to do is add hot water to the tray.

Photo Description: This product has a cool perforated corner piece that allows you to easily pour out the hot water after the noodles have cooked for the required period of time.
The age we live in is a world where there’s a spout to the drain water.

After a few minutes, you will drain the water from the package.

Photo Description: the square mound of noodles sitting in the tray after they have been prepared in the hot water.
Virgin noodles prior to adding the sauce packet.

If you’re doing it right, you’ll have some limp noodles and vegetables ready for you to stuff your face into.

Photo Description: the noodles after they have been doused in the darker sauce.
You dirty little noodles looking all saucy.

Well, not till you douse a load of sauce in with your noodles – I don’t know about you, but I can do without meat although regardless if you do a chicken yakisoba to a vegetarian yakisoba, both are equally good. Either version should have your face all up in this tray.

Photo Description: I am holding a small packet of Japanese kewpie mayonnaise.
Those manly hands are cradling a packet of Kewpie brand mayo

There’s the sweeter and saltier yakisoba sauce and then there’s the creamy Japanese mayo aka Kewpie (the stuff used on okonomiyaki to takoyaki). If you followed the previous links, you’ll have enough to go around for many more trays of yakisoba noodles.

Photo Description: the final product, the prepared noodles I went and placed in a bowl of mine. I topped it with kewpie and aonori.
Yakisoba all dolled up with a few of the fixings, but i’m no commoner which is why I served up my yakisoba in a bowl. I also made sure my pinky was up to give an extra air of sophistication.

For an instant meal, I think this by far beats ramen, and since yakisoba uses a ramen style noodle, how can you not consider yakisoba for your next meal especially since many American “influencers” tend to think of ramen as a vegan dish with a million and one ingredients dumped in like a bukkakefest (with yakisoba have at it because it goes great with a variety of ingredients).

Yakisoba recipes:

Where to buy (Amazon to Japanese Markets):

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