When most people think of traditional New Orleans cuisine, staples such as gumbo, jambalaya, po-boys, and beignets may come to mind, but Ya-ka-mein, one of the lesser known and underappreciated local delicacies is just as delicious and rich in culture as the other dishes.
Ya-ka-mein, often called “Old Sober” is often prescribed as a local hangover cure, and although I am no doctor… it fucking works! Although the dish’s origin is foggier than those NEIPAs that are all the rave these days, it is thought to have originated in the extinct New Orleans Chinatown (which was not far from the also extinct Storyville area) during the mid-19th century. It is said that Chinese immigrants who came to New Orleans from California to find work building railroads and working in the sugar plantations mixed their traditional noodle soups with the local creole and Cajun style and birthed a sort of hybrid that we now know and love as ya-ka-mein (or yakimi, yakameat, yakamee, yaka mein, or however you choose to say it). Regardless of where it came from, this delicious elixir that gets you right after last night’s epic bottle share, is a simple soup made of beef (or pork) with beef broth or bouillon, Cajun seasoning, poured over spaghetti noodles and served with half of a boiled egg and garnished with chopped green onions, and hot sauce. Over the years it has turned into a New Orleans staple found at corner stores, second lines, and even Jazz Fest. Since ya-ka-mein is a common part of a second line, for our rendition of this New Orleans classic, we decided to put the second line in the ya-ka-mein, using Second Line Brewing’s West Coast IPA to add to the complexity of the beef broth!
Read on to see the recipe!
1-1/2 lb beef roast
4 cubes beef bouillon
½ white onion (sliced thin)
12 oz Second Line West Coast IPA
3 cups water
Cajun seasoning to taste (we used Slap Ya Mama’s)
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup soy sauce
3-4 stalks of green onions
1 box dry spaghetti noodles
Cut the beef roast into manageable pieces, approximately 5x5
Lightly coat in olive oil and season well with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Like rub all that shit in reeeaaaal good.
Sear those beautiful chunks of beef on every side until you get a nice char on ALL sides. This will help to lock in as much of that delicious beefy flavor as possible.
After the beef has been browned, add the onions, Second Line West Coast IPA, water, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce in a large pot and simmer for 3-4 hrs.
While you’re waiting for your beef to cook, boil your eggs to desired consistency, cool and set aside.
When meat is almost tender, cook the spaghetti noodles as per the instructions on the box.
After the meat is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it cool.
Once the beef has cooled enough to be handled, chop it into small cubes and return to the stock.
Pour the broth and beef over a bowl of spaghetti and garnish with chopped green onions, half of a boiled egg, and hot sauce/soy sauce to taste
Enjoy with a Second Line Route Red IPA, good friends, and always march to your own parade!