Yakisoba Sauce: A Beloved Noodle Sauce

Yakisoba sauce is an essential part of the yakisoba dish. Yakisoba is a Japanese dish but it evolved from the well-known Chinese chow mein. It consists of stir-fried noodles along with vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, and onions. Bite-sized pieces of pork may also be included along with bonito shavings.

The same sauce may also be used in a version of the dish made with udon noodles and called yakiudon. You could say that yakisoba sauce holds all of the dish’s other ingredients together.

The soba part of the yakisoba name means buckwheat; however, yakisoba noodles are made with wheat rather than buckwheat. The full name translates to fried buckwheat noodles.

Yakisoba began with Chinese buckwheat noodles that the Chinese may have begun to make as far back as 5000 BCE. These would make their way to Japan around 722 though some reports suggest that they may have reached Japan earlier and the Japanese made their version with wheat flour instead of buckwheat. It would eventually become a popular food, but the form of the dish that is commonly eaten today didn’t show up until around the 16th century CE. Only in the 17th century did it become a common food eaten all over Japan.

Yakisoba sauce

In the 20th century, members of the US military made yakisoba even more popular. In 1945, the US military provided the starving people of Okinawa with rations, which included spaghetti. The spaghetti was used for making yakisoba. Today, yakisoba continues to be a popular dish with members of the US military based in Okinawa and in Korea.

Yakisoba sauce flavor profile

The flavor of yakisoba sauce is often likened to that of Worcestershire sauce. While the ingredients can vary somewhat from blend to blend, the sauce is typically a mix of various sauces to create acidic and umami flavors with a little background sweetness.

Blends often include a mix of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and hoisin sauce. Sweeteners such as sugar or honey may be added. Yakisoba sauce has a thick consistency that is similar to that of barbecue sauce.

Health benefits of yakisoba sauce

While yakisoba sauce is not marketed for its health benefits, it can provide a range of health benefits since it does contain some nutritious ingredients. For example, you can get these nutrients from yakisoba sauce:

  • Minerals: Yakisoba sauce can supply a modest but significant amount of your daily iron and calcium requirements.
  • Vitamins: Yakisoba sauce does contain various B vitamins including niacin and riboflavin.

On its own, yakisoba won’t cure any diseases but it may help to alleviate or prevent some health conditions like:

  • Obesity: Even though it can contain sweeteners like honey and sugar, a serving of yakisoba sauce has relatively few calories. The low calorie-count means that you can use it to add flavor to your food without significantly increasing the likelihood of weight gain.
  • Osteoporosis: Minerals in yakisoba sauce like magnesium and calcium can help to slow the loss of bone mass that comes with aging.

Health concerns

Yakisoba sauce is quite high in sodium. Excessive salt can raise blood pressure and may cause certain cancers.

Common uses

Along with its use in yakisoba, you can use yakisoba sauce in teriyaki and in the noodle and rice dish called sobameshi. Its applications are not limited to Japanese food as you can use it as a condiment in western dishes as well. Use it like Worcestershire sauce or in place of ketchup.