Yakisoba with Pork Belly is Japanese stir-fry noodles. It’s like Chinese chow mein but with a more complex flavors. Sweet, salty and tangy. Great for dinner or lunch boxes!
I love Japanese food! And you probably know it too from all my Japanese recipes (like miso beef onigiri, Japanese egg salad sandwiches, and shabu shabu)! You may think wonder I am obsessed with Japanese cuisine when I am from Hong Kong.
Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to watch much television. The only things I can watch were animated cartoons. Since my mom usually didn’t get home until 6pm, I would glue to the television after school and watched all kinds of cartoons. 90% of the shows in Hong Kong were from Japan and then translated to Cantonese. Some of my favorites are Doraemon (多啦A夢), Chibi Maruko-chan (櫻桃小丸子), Sailor Moon (美少女戰士), Nintama Rantarō (忍者亂太郎), and Tonde Burin (飛天少女豬事丁). I didn’t stop watching cartoons until 16 years old (when I come to the States), so I have watched hundreds of cartoons that I can barely remember a few. In most of the cartoons, there are always tons of food scenes. Either it’s the dorayaki (red bean pancake sandwich) in Doraemon or yakimochi (grilled rice cake) in Chibi Maruko-chan, I was always drooling over the television screen. That sparked my interest in Japanese food.
In addition, Japanese food is very popular in Hong Kong. Sushi restaurants are everywhere, even back in the 90’s. They were not expensive either. Yoshoku (Japanese western food) is very common too. My mom used to take us to Pokka Cafe, where we can get Japanese curry, omurice (rice omelette), tonkatsu (fried pork chop), ice cream parfait and many more. Although those food may not be 100% authentic, we were very familiar with the flavors of Japanese cuisine at young age. Japanese food is not weird and exotic. It is just part of what we eat.
In Japanese food, there is a wide range of options. Other than the most well known sushi and ramen, there are teppanyaki (food cooked on iron skillet), yoshoku (Japanese western food), curry, tempura (battered fried food), yakitori (skewer food), soba (buckwheat noodles) and many more. Most of them are very affordable. Yakisoba is one of the classic food stall eats. It’s a stir fry noodles with meat and vegetable. It is almost like Chinese chow mein. But the biggest difference is the sauce. Yakisoba sauce is a mix of ketchup, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. It’s a bit sweet, salty and tangy. The flavors are much more complex than a chow mein. It’s hearty and savory!
The secret to a good yakisoba is chewy noodles. No one want a soggy yakisoba. Cook the noodles at the very last minute. Also make sure once the noodles are separated and have been cooked for an extra minute, remove and drain. Add them to the meat and vegetables. The noodles should remain chewy after a few more toss in the griddle.
If you a noodle lover, this is a must for you! Flavorful dinner meal! They are great in lunch boxes too!
Yakisoba with Pork Belly
Yield 3 servings
- ¾ pound thinly sliced pork belly (cut into 1-inch pieces)
- ½ onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 carrot (peeled and cut into 1/8-inch strips)
- 4 cabbage leaves (cut into ¼-inch strips)
- 2 green onions (cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 5 fresh shiitake mushrooms (cut into ¼-inch strips)
- 1 (16 – 17 ounces) package Yakisoba noodles
- vegetable oil
- ground black pepper
- Aonori (dried seaweed powder) (optional topping)
- Pickled red ginger (optional topping)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and keep it at a simmer.
- In a large flat griddle over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and grease the griddle. Cook the pork belly until no longer pink. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion. Cook for 2 minutes. Add carrot and cabbage. Cook until almost tender, about 3 – 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add noodles in the simmering water. With a pair of chopsticks or tongs, separate the noodles as quick as possible without breaking them. Drain and set aside.
- Toss in green onion and mushroom. Cook for another minute. Season with ground black pepper. Add the cooked noodles. Combine the noodles with the vegetables.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low, add 2/3 of the yakisoba sauce to the noodles. Mix well. Taste and adjust with more sauce according to your own taste. Transfer to serving plates. Sprinkle with seaweed powder and top with pickled red ginger if using. Serve immediately.
- My griddle is a 2-burner griddle. I almost can't fit everything on it. If you don’t have anything like that, you may want to do it in a wok or even in 2 large skillets. You want a large surface, so everything can be heat evenly.
- Yakisoba noodles can be found in Japanese grocery store at the fridge isle. Many yakisoba noodle package comes with yakisoba sauce or powder. You can use those instead of making your own, but homemade is always better!
- Oyster sauce is a common Asian condiment. It is made from oyster extract. It may sound weird, but it doesn’t taste fishy. It is a thick sauce that is sweet and salty. You can find it in most Asian supermarkets or from Amazon.
- If you don’t like pork belly, you can substitute with other meat, like beef.
- When cooking the pork belly, there could be lots of fat coming out. If you don’t like the end result to be too greasy. You can soak up some of the oil with paper towels.
- I really like the seaweed powder and pickled ginger with the noodles. They do add more flavors to the dish. Both can be bought from Japanese supermarkets.
(Adapted from Just One Cookbook)