Yakisoba (焼きそば), literally “fried noodles”, is a dish often sold at festivals in Japan, but originates in China. The dish was derived by the Chinese from the traditional chow mein, but has been more heavily integrated into Japanese cuisine like ramen. Even though soba (Japanese Noodles made from buckwheat) is part of the word, yakisoba noodles are not made from buckwheat, but are similar to ramen noodles and made from wheat flour.
Yakisoba usually refers to sōsu yakisoba/ソース焼きそば, flavored with yakisoba sauce.
It is prepared by stir-frying ramen-style noodles with bite-sized pork, vegetables (usually cabbage, onions or carrots) and flavoured with yakisoba sauce, salt and pepper. It is served with a multitude of garnishes, such as aonori/青海苔 (seaweed powder), beni shoga/紅生姜 (shredded pickled ginger), katsuobushi/鰹節 (fish flakes), and Japanese mayonnaise.
Family style yakisoba
Yakisoba is most familiarly served on a plate either as a main dish or a side dish.
“Yakisoba Pan/Yakisoba Bun)
Another popular way to prepare and serve yakisoba in Japan is to pile the noodles into a bun sliced down the middle in the style of a hot dog, and garnish the top with mayonnaise and shreds of pickled ginger. Called yakisoba-pan, pan meaning bread, it is commonly available at local matsuri (Japanese festivals) or konbini (convenience stores).
Sometimes, Japanese white Udon is used as a replacement of Chinese style Soba and called Yakiudon. This variation was started in Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture.
Yakisoba is served widely across military bases around the world, and daily at Camp Hansen, a Marine Corps base in Okinawa, Japan, and weekly at Kunsan AB, an airbase in the Republic of Korea. It has become a favored dish among the U.S. Military across the world.
Other Yakisoba varieties:
As said above, all kinds of garnish are used for Yakisoba.
The most popular way to add such garnish is called Gomoku Yakisoba/五目焼きそば/5 garnishes yakisoba, as the number “5” is a particular good number in Japan.
Katayakisoba/堅焼きそば means that the soba hard, either deep-fried or instant. It makes for a cruchylayer of soba under soft garnish and sweet and sour sauce!
In Fujinomiya City, at the foot of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture, they make a slightly different kind of Yakisoba which has been awarded its own name patent!
The noodles used in the recipe are thicker than in the rest of Japan.
The noodles are fried in anima fat leftover (that is left after cooking the meat!)
Fine bonito shavings or other powder (mackerel, sardine, …) is used as a finishing touch.
Depending on the home or shop, sakura ebi/cherry shrimp, cuttle fish and minced meat are included.