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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogYakisoba Noodles: Everything You Need To Know!

Yakisoba Noodles: Everything You Need To Know!

James LauJames Lau
Published Time
Posted on 
March 15, 2024
A plate of yakisoba noodles.

Explore the world of yakisoba noodles! Created during the Taisho era (1912-1926), yakisoba has become a beloved Japanese street food enjoyed at festivals, local diners, and specialty restaurants nationwide. From classic Worcestershire sauce yakisoba to variations like shio and ankake yakisoba, there’s yakisoba for everyone!

Whether you’re craving the classic sauce yakisoba or eager to try regional variations, there’s something for everyone! Find yakisoba at festivals, local diners, and specialty restaurants, or try making it yourself for an outdoor cooking adventure. Yakisoba is a must-try dish with Japanese cuisine’s rich flavors and creativity!

What is yakisoba?      

Yakisoba is a Japanese stir-fried noodle dish mixed with English Worcestershire sauce seasoning. Despite soba in its name, yakisoba uses steamed Chinese-style noodles. Pork is mainly used with veggies like cabbage, carrots, onions, and bean sprouts, with toppings such as dried seaweed, bonito flakes, and red pickled ginger sprinkled on top.

A plate of stir-fried noodles.
“Yakisoba’ means grilled noodles. Image via Shutterstock

This noodle dish is eaten across Japan, easily found at festivals, restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores! It’s easy to make and perfect for outdoor cooking, making it a favorite for school events and local festivals! Yakisoba is also used in many ways like yakisoba pan, a sandwich that uses yakisoba as its filling; omusoba, a style of omurice using yakisoba instead of rice; and in modanyaki, a pancake similar to okonomiyaki!

What kind of yakisoba varieties are there?

Yakisoba comes in many flavors and styles! Sauce yakisoba is the most common, using Worcestershire or oyster sauce, while shio yakisoba is a lighter, salt-flavored option, liked by seafood lovers. There’s also ankake yakisoba, featuring a thick sauce over meats, vegetables, and seafood. Meanwhile, kata yakisoba is known for its crunchy, grilled noodles covered in a sauce, ensuring that people can enjoy flavor and texture when they eat it!

A plate of kata yakisoba.
This version of yakisoba is crunchy! Image via Shutterstock

As for local specialties, Fujinomiya yakisoba from Shizuoka is famous for its chewy noodles, often served with abura-kasu and cabbages. Yokote yakisoba from Akita uses thick noodles and a soft-cooked egg on top of the dish. In Okinawa, ketchup yakisoba is like Napolitan spaghetti but uses Okinawan soba noodles instead! In Tochigi, yakisoba is made with bite-sized potatoes to create a yakisoba that will fill you up!

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Where did it come from?

Yakisoba was created after World War II. It has roots as both a variation of okonomiyaki and in Chinese chow mein. After the war, flour was expensive, so people would make yakisoba with extra cabbage, making each serving bigger. However, since there was so much cabbage, the flavor was weak, so people started to use Worchestershire sauce to season their yakisoba to give it extra flavor! This was when sauce yakisoba was created!

Yakisoba in a plastic container.
They come in all kinds of flavors! Image via Shutterstock

Traditional candy shops soon began to sell yakisoba made with Worcestershire sauce to young children, quickly becoming popular with them! Soon, the popularity of sauce yakisoba spread across Japan. It became a standard item for Japanese diners. Since the noodles are cooked on a large iron plate, food stalls selling yakisoba became popular at school events and festivals! Now, you can find yakisoba all over Japan, including most teppan restaurants!

Where can I enjoy yakisoba?

Yakisoba can be enjoyed in various places across Japan. From summer festivals to local diners and traditional okonomiyaki restaurants in Tokyo, there are many places to enjoy this noodle dish. Whether you’re exploring city streets or countryside towns, you’ll find yakisoba stands, each with its twist. With its delicious flavors and being easy to make, yakisoba has become a popular Japanese street food! You’ll often see people lining up at festivals to enjoy it!

A person cooking yakisoba in the street.
It’s a very popular street food in Japan! Image via Shutterstock

For a taste of authentic yakisoba, keep an eye out for food stalls at events like summer festivals and school gatherings. You can also visit specialty restaurants in different regions of Japan, where you’ll find local versions of this noodle dish. Whether you prefer the classic Worcestershire sauce flavor or want to try something, yakisoba is a delicious dish that shows off the variety of Japanese cuisine!

A bowl of stir-fried Japanese noodles.
Have you ever had yakisoba noodles before? Image via Shutterstock

Yakisoba noodles are a delicious treat and a symbol of Japanese food, with delicious flavors and many different styles! From the classic sauce yakisoba to the regional specialties like Fujinomiya yakisoba, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! You can eat yakisoba in various ways at summer festivals, local diners, or specialty restaurants! So, the next time you’re in Japan, don’t forget to try these noodles for yourself! Have you ever tried yakisoba? Which variation do you like the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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