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 in recent years, the noodle dish has gained wide popularity in many countries.

Japan has many varieties of Udon dishes, but most of them are noodle soups or come with a light soy sauce-based dashi-rich broth.

Udon vs Yaki Udon vs Yaki Soba noodles

Yaki Udon (焼きうどん)Yaki Udon

However, there is an exception called “Yaki Udon (焼きうどん)” which has no broth. Although its name includes the word Udon, the 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)” refers to the cooking method using fire or heat, such as “bake”, “grill”, or “fry”.

So unlike representative Udon noodle soups, Yaki Udon and Yaki Soba are both cooked by stir-frying noodles with other ingredients in a frying pan with some oil.


A Typical Bowl of Udon Noodle SoupUdon Noodle Soup

Yaki Udon is a type of Udon dish, so 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 toppings such as fresh green onions, wakame seaweed, slices of Kamaboko fish cake, Aburaage deep-fried bean curd, Tempura, and raw eggs,

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)Yaki Soba

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 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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