Yaka Mein, a Creole-style Chinese beef noodle soup.
Not your typical ramen.
The dish, originally named “Ol’ Sober,” came to America in the 1800s with Chinese workers building roads.
It started in California and slowly spread to the South, where African Americans in New Orleans embraced it.
Any protein, spaghetti noodles, beef broth, and green onions are needed to make the meal. A decent Yaka Mein dish needs a cooked egg.
Just standard go-to items. Anyone may customize the meal by adding spice, protein, or other ingredients.
Chef Linda Green, “The Yaka Mein Queen,” did that.
Green sells her several versions of the meal at most New Orleans festivals. Her menu includes the classic, oyster, vegetarian, shrimp and beef, shrimp, alligator, and duck Yaka Mein.
Green claims she adds a special spice combination to the “juice.”
Yaka Mein may be simply another street meal, but some perceive more.
A welcome to the city, a family supper, the only meal you can afford, or a cure after a Bourbon Street night out.
Yaka Mein is constantly needed, regardless of the weather.