If you're sick of your usual soup recipes, we have a new one you should taste...especially if you like Southern food. It's called yakamein, and it's a must-try. Like many popular regional dishes, it's a unique combo of flavors and ingredients that you won't find on the menu unless you're in the right place. This delicious beef noodle soup is both comforting and exotic, spicing up your soup repertoire and bring a taste of Louisiana to your table.
Yakamein is popular in many Creole restaurants throughout New Orleans, Louisiana. It's sometimes called "Old Sober" because it's supposedly a hangover cure, and is the perfect solution for a rough morning after a late night out. You can find it in restaurants in New Orleans, along with at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival next to other mouthwatering Cajun and Creole dishes.
Although this beloved soup is mostly viewed as a New Orleans specialty, it can also be found in Montreal, Canada; Norfolk, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; and a few places in Philadelphia. Although its origins are unclear, some believe that it was brought to the region by Chinese immigrants in the nineteenth century, as explained by Garden & Gun. These Chinese immigrants are said to have served it at New Orlean's Chinatown, where the soup was adapted to fit the tastes of the Creole customers.
What Is Yakamein Made Of?
Yakamein soup is made of stewed beef in beef broth which is served on top of noodles that can be as simple and nondescript as spaghetti noodles. It has a garnish consisting of a hard-boiled egg and chopped green onions or scallions. Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning and chili powder are usually added to the broth to make it even more flavorful, and sometimes chopped cilantro or parsley and ketchup, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or soy sauce can be added, too.
Where Can You Get Yakamein?
The beloved soup is a comfort food favorite for many in New Orleans. It's common to find the dish at second lines in the area or at parades and festivals, or in corner stores there. It's also big with African American families around New Orleans and often made according to secret family recipes.
Sadly, it's been harder to find since many local places that served it did not reopen following the description of Hurricane Katrina, according to Food52.
While yakamein is mainly popular around the Big Easy, it can also be found in Montreal, Canada, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Bellevue in Pennsylvania, and the Norfolk Virginia/Baltimore area at takeout restaurants.
You can, of course, also find recipes to make the unique soup yourself online, as long as you've got the right ingredients, a stockpot or other place to cook it, a ladle, and a dream. Good luck!
This post was originally published on December 1, 2020.