Yakisoba (literally, grilled noodles) is a popular and inexpensive Japanese comfort food; hence, it is classified as “B-grade gourmet” by Japanese foodies. The dish is easily and quickly made by stir-frying buckwheat noodles and other ingredients. Its origin is chow mein, a traditional Chinese dish, often flavored with soy sauce or salt.
Yakisoba came into prominence in Japan soon after World War II. At that time, flour was not readily available, so the idea was to increase volume with cabbage, which was readily and cheaply available. High water content in cabbage diluted the taste which led to the idea of seasoning the dish with a thick Worcestershire-like sauce to make up for the loss of flavor. Yakisoba first appeared in food stalls, but, following the launch of instant yakisoba noodles in 1974, the dish soon emerged as a staple of Japanese households. You will stumble across mobile food stalls selling Yakisoba at popular gatherings such as summer festivals (matsuri) and fireworks displays.