Yakamein has been served on the streets of New Orleans since the early to mid-1900's. It just depends on who you ask. Some say the noodle soup was brought over by African-American soldiers returning after serving in the Korean War. Others say it was from Chinese immigrants that worked alongside African slaves while building the railroads that connected Houston to New Orleans.
Even though the dish has some Asian roots to it, Yakamein is uniquely New Orleans. Some have nicknamed it "old sober" for its ability to cure a hangover. Its popularity grew on the streets during parades and at the many festivals around the Crescent City. Onlookers to the parades would eat the soup out of styrofoam cups that were sold out of the back of pick-up trucks.
There are as many different variations of Yakamein as there are ways to spell it; there's beef, pork and chicken; seafood, vegetable and even alligator. Restaurants are now selling their versions with an "up-scale" recipe. It's a great light soup and it's easy to make. It's also a good way to use up some leftover shredded meats that you may have made for pulled pork sandwiches.
If you're planning a trip to New Orleans, look for this popular street food. If not, make this wonderful recipe at home. You don't have to have a hangover to enjoy this and your family will love it.
- 2 lbs roast (either beef or pork)
- 4 qts water
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp Creole seasoning
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 4 cubes beef bouillon
- spaghetti noodles
- green onions, chopped
- hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half
- hot sauce
- soy sauce
Using a crock pot, place the roast on the bottom. Season the roast with the allspice, Creole seasoning, onion powder. Pour in the water and bouillon cubes to the pot. Cover; cook on low for 8-10 hours.
While the crock pot is finishing up, cook noodles according to directions. Hard boil eggs. Chop green onions.
Remove roast for the crock pot, shred meat, set aside.
To serve Yakamein, place spaghetti noodles in a bowl, then green onions, one egg (either whole or halved), then the meat and cover with the liquids from the crock pot.
Season with either - or all -soy sauce, ketchup and hot sauce.
Tell us if you have ever eaten yakamein on the streets of New Orleans or made it at home in the comments below. You can visit my blog Red Beans And Eric for more Creole/Cajun foods to try.
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