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Food

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

If you like chow mein, you just might love Japanese 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). 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.

Yakisoba is a popular festival food in Japan, especially when everything is under $4. Image by Guilhem Vellut

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.

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

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 (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 food 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.
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If you have $2.48, 4.8oz of noodle goodness can be all yours.

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.

Preparing instant yakisoba

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Party in a tray
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I just happened to get the one with the mustard mayo.
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Peakaboo
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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.

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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.

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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 devour.

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You dirty little noodles looking all saucy.

Well, not till you douse a load of sauce in with your noodles.

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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.

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Yakisoba all dolled up with a few of the fixings.

Yakisoba recipes:

Where to buy:

Online:
I prefer Tokyo Central for their prices although I would also check Amazon.

Japanese markets:

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