Udon vs Yaki Udon vs Yaki Soba: What is the Difference?
The traditional Japanese noodle made of wheat flour, “Udon (うどん, 饂飩)” is a staple food in Japan and has gained wide popularity in many countries in recent years.
In Japan, there are many varieties of Udon dishes, but most of them basically consist of somewhat thick chewy wheat noodles in a light soy sauce-based dashi-rich broth.
The Difference: Udon vs Yaki Udon vs Yaki Soba noodles
Yaki Udon (焼きうどん)
However, in Udon there is an exception called “Yaki Udon (焼きうどん)” which has no broth. Although Yaki Udon includes the word Udon in its name, the Udon dish is actually very much like “Yaki Soba (焼きそば)“
The Meaning of “Yaki (焼き)”
The Japanese prefix that Yaki Udon and Yaki Soba have in common in their names, “Yaki (焼き)” actually refers to cooking methods using fire or heat, such as “bake”, “grill”, and “fry”, and unlike representative Udon noodle soups, both Yaki Udon and Yaki Soba are cooked by stir-frying noodles and other ingredients together in a frying pan with some oil.
A Typical Bowl of Udon Noodle Soup
Since Yaki Udon is a type of Udon dish, as with other Udon noodle soups, various forms of Udon noodles, such as fresh, dried, chilled, or flat, can be prepared for Yaki Udon. On the other hand, the noodles used in Yaki Soba aren’t buckwheat noodles, but usually oil-coated steamed wheat noodles.
Unlike usual Udon noodle soups that are garnished with fresh green onions, wakame seaweed, slices of Kamaboko fish paste, Aburaage deep-fried bean curd, Tempura, raw eggs, and so on, typical ingredients for Yaki Udon and Yaki Soba that are stir-fried with the noodles are bite-sized pieces of pork belly, cabbage, onions, and bean sprouts.
Yaki Soba (焼きそば)
As you can guess by now, Yaki Udon and Yaki Soba actually can be made with the same ingredients except for noodles using the same cooking method. The noodles are stir-fried with other ingredients and seasoned typically with Japanese-style Worcester sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and oyster sauce.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 焼きうどん )