Summer’s Here – Bring On The Soba!

Popular since the early 8th century and often referred to as the Japanese take on the Chinese favourite chow mein, yakisoba has grown in both popularity and prestige.

Yaki is the Japanese word for anything that is fried, so in its entirety yakisoba means ‘fried soba noodles’ with yakisoba noodles typically being made of wheat flour, despite soba meaning ‘buckwheat.’

The noodles are thin, curly and never served in soup – the latter has become a unique characteristic associated with this delicious street food. Usually enjoyed for lunch, newer and more exciting varieties of yakisoba have appeared on the market – making it a truly versatile meal. That’s why we’ll be sharing our top tips on how you can best enjoy your soba noodles and mix it up once in awhile with some fresh and adventurous recipes and ingredients.

BBQ yakisoba

The weather in Japan is quite predictable and varies from very cold, super hot and everything in between. Yakisoba became popular and found its place in Japanese society due to its portability as street food often served at barbecues and matsuri or Japanese festivals.

During the more temperate seasons, yakisoba is enjoyed by families at outdoor gatherings or served in buns. The key ingredient that makes BBQ yakisoba stand out is the sweet and tangy taste of the yakisoba sauce. For a quick and easy outdoor yakisoba meal, you might want to stick to onions, cabbage, carrots, peppers and your choice of meat.

Check out the video below and watch how yakisoba is made outdoors.

Make it yourself yakisoba

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With healthier recipes being created for everything under the sun, it is no wonder that people have found ways to make yakisoba dishes even more creative, delicious and nutritious. At Japan Centre Piccadilly, we have a wide range of gluten free yakisoba options for those of you with specific dietary requirements. These noodles can be thrown into a pan with savoury and tasty ingredients to create the perfect bowls of yakisoba. For at home recipes, steamed or pre-cooked noodles are usually used. Why not try the following recipe?

Ingredients:

1 portion yakisoba noodles

2 tbsp yakisoba sauce

1 tbsp mayonnaise

50g pork

1/2 onion

1/8 white cabbage

1/4 green pepper

1 small carrot

aonori powdered seaweed

pickled shredded ginger

dried bonito flakes (optional)

How to prepare:

  1. Cut the pork into small slices, along with the carrots, peppers, onion and cabbage.
  2. Stir fry the pork until browned, then add the vegetables except for the cabbage.
  3. Add cabbage after the other vegetables have cooked through.
  4. Add noodles to the pan, then mix while adding yakisoba sauce.
  5. Once it is ready, sprinkle aonori (powdered seaweed) and top with shredded pickled ginger. For extra flavour you can add dried bonito flakes and mayonnaise.

If you’d like to try more recipes, why not visit our inspiration pages? Or watch the video below for some tips.

Instant yakisoba

Japanese cuisine leads the pack when it comes to instant cup noodles, so it’s no surprise that famous brand Ippeichan is so popular and has managed to introduce innovative flavours to their range. For those who don’t have enough time to prepare a full meal but still want to have delicious Japanese yakisoba why not have a bowl for a work lunch or while watching a movie?

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Different yakisoba in different prefectures

Like many things in Japan, different prefectures and cities have their own varieties of yakisoba. These have been made to suit the tastes of the locals, with some of them containing ingredients specifically found in certain regions.

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Seafood yakisoba

Our top 3 are:

  1. The most famous (it even has its own patent), the Fujinomiya yakisoba from Shizuoka. A specific type of noodles is used along with meat with no lard, red pickled ginger (beni shoga), and bonito flakes sprinkled on top.
  2. Jyu Ota yakisoba from Gunma prefecture is made with thick noodles and black sauce. It is topped with cabbage only, however some restaurants add additional toppings to this.
  3. Hiruzen yakisoba from Okayama is distinctive in both taste and appearance. This is because, instead of the traditional sauce, miso sauce is used along with chicken giving it a deeper and earthier taste.

To find out more about the different yakisoba varieties in Japan, check out this article.

Share with us how you like to enjoy your yakisoba or which regional yakisoba you’d like to try in the comments below.