News Years Day usually in the homes and resturants of the Southern parts of America has Hoppin’ John. A traditional rice and black-eyed bean meal meant to bring good luck for the upcoming year. But for some the meal needed is YaKa Mein – also known as Old Sober.
It’s an Asian noodle dish served from food trucks on the streets of New Orleans to the booths at the Jazz and Heritage Festival. Though some say it’s not necessarily an Asian dish. Stories are told of the African-American Soldiers coming back from the Korean War and telling of this “Seoul Food”. Others say it was from the Chinese immegrents who worked along side African slaves on the railroads in the mid 19th Century building tracks from Houston to New Orleans.
Where ever the dish originated, it became a New Orleans creole dish. To the locals of New Orleans it’s a known dish, it was brought to everyone else’s attention by Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” when he eats the YaKa Mein with the star of “Treme“, Wendell Pierce.
It’s said to have healing powers to cure the hangover. After a long night of drinking around the French Quarter, YaKa Mein was the next days remedy of choice. But you don’t need to be on the streets of the Quarter to have YaKa Mein, or hungover for that matter. Through much research, here is my version of YaKa Mein…
- 3-4 lbs Roast
- 2 tsp creole seasoning
- 1 tsp onion powder
- salt and pepper
- 4 quarts water
- 2 tbsp beef bouillon
- Spaghetti noodles
- 8 Hard Boiled Eggs
- 1 Green Onion, chopped
- Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco Sauce, and/or ketchup
In a crock pot, season the roast with the creole seasoning, onion powder, salt and pepper. Add the water and bouillon. Add a dash or two of soy sauce. Cook on low for 10 hours. Once the roast has cooked, set aside and shred it.
Cook the spaghetti noodles.
Make the hard-boiled eggs.
To serve, place spaghetti noodles in to bowl. Top with meat. Add onion and half of hard-boiled egg then ladle stock over the top of bowl. For more flavor, add more soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and/or ketchup.
Any type of pasta will do if you don’t have spaghetti noodles. The roast can be replaced with pork. Just bake the pork for 30 minutes and chop.
If you’d prefer not to use a crock pot for the roast, in a large pot cover the roast with water. Add the spices and bouillon and simmer for 2-3 hours. When the roast is finished, remove and shred. Skim the fat from the top of the water (stock). Everything else remains the same.