Japanese Noodles: What is Black Yakisoba?
Today for lunch, I had this “Black Yakisoba (ブラック焼そば)” instant noodle from Maruchan, released on May 24 of this year (2021).
As seen from the text on the package front “やみつき旨辛 (Yamitsuki Uma-Kara)”, it is a noodle dish with an addictive umami-rich spicy taste.
As you may know, Yakisoba is usually made of steamed, oil-coated wheat noodles that have been stir-fried with pork and vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions, and bean sprouts, seasoned with a dash of salt and pepper and Japanese Worcester sauce.
The regular variety is generally called “Sauce Yakisoba (ソース焼きそば)” and is not “Black”. So what is Black Yakisoba? Have you ever heard of it?
Black Yakisoba (ブラック焼きそば)
Actually, Black Yakisoba comes in 2 types. One is Black Yakisoba that originated from Toyama Black Ramen, and the instant noodle I ate today beautifully recreates this type of Black Yakisoba.
The composition of the Toyama-style Black Yakisoba is basically the same as Toyama Black Ramen;
The stir-fried noodle’s black color comes from dark soy sauce or Koikuchi Shoyu and its addictive spiciness mainly from lots of black pepper. By the way, you can see the basic recipe here (in Japanese).
Itoigawa Black Yakisoba
Meanwhile, the other type of Black Yakisoba is actually from Niigata where I live. This Black Yakisoba was actually created by an association in the city of Itoigawa to revitalize the regional economy.
The Yakisoba dish is known as a so-called “B-Kyu Gurume (B級グルメ: literally B Rank Food)” referring to cuisines that are popular with the masses and don’t use high-quality ingredients.
Itoigawa-style Black Yakisoba uses squid taken in the Sea of Japan in Niigata Prefecture and is finished with its ink.
In the city of Itoigawa, now, a number of restaurants are offering Black Yakisoba, and the Chinese restaurant “Tsukitoku Hanten (月徳飯店)” is especially famous for its Black Yakisoba.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 糸魚川ブラック焼きそば )