Literally “grilled noodles,” yakisoba is a classic Japanese dish of stir-fried noodles with meat and vegetables on a teppanyaki hot plate. Although soba generally refers to buckwheat noodles, this dish is made from ramen-style wheat noodles, also known as Chinese noodles or chukamen. Springy and chewy, these tasty pan-fried noodles are fused with typical yakisoba sauce that’s both sweet and savory (a thickened soy sauce, similar to oyster sauce and Worcestershire), garnished with pink pickled ginger and a sprinkle of aonori (seaweed flakes), a squiggle of mayonnaise, with katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) wiggling in the heat.
A casual snack, yakisoba emerged as a street food in Japan during the early 20th century, and has since become a regular fast-food fare, grilled with okonomiyaki at specialty restaurants. It’s sold around Japan as both a side dish or a light meal, typically from festival food stalls, street food carts, supermarkets, and is easily made at home with your favorite ingredients. When udon noodles are used, the dish is called yakiudon, a variation made popular in Fukuoka Prefecture. In Okinawa, yakisoba is often served with spam and wieners, influenced by the tastes of the US Military Occupation. Join one of our food tours to taste yakisoba during a street food tour, or learn how to grill it yourself in a yakisoba cooking class with us.
Sign up to receive insider tips about the food scene in Japan's most extraordinary areas.