Once the summer sun gets serious and starts bringing in the heat like a Glenn Frey jam, every fiber in me wants food from a smokin’ hot grill. And one thing I can’t wait to sink my teeth into is a nice, steaming hot bowl of grilled noodles. (Cue: Glenn Frey record scratch.) Yep, I said grilled noodles.
Yakisoba translates into grilled noodles. You can argue that the yakisoba is pan-fried but the pan is unnecessary. Traditionally, the noodles are cooked up on a scorching hot flat top grill that’s been seasoned to perfection—much like a good outdoor grill.
Thick yakisoba wheat noodles sit on the grill while the other ingredients cook next to the heap. Virtually anything can be a topping for this noodle: fried egg, bacon, kimchi, cheese, mochi, nori, corn, squid, mushroom, shrimp, or beef.
The plate I ordered at Gottsui Teppanyaki Bar in Little Osaka on Sawtelle was somewhat minimalist. My “Kobe beef” yakisoba consisted of braised Angus beef and bits of toasty fried garlic smothered in a sweet and savory yakisoba sauce. Swimming amongst the beef was cabbage, bean sprouts, crispy nori, red ginger, and the oddest of condiments: dried bonito flakes.
The bonito flakes perform an unreal, haunting dance; steam from the hot food is responsible for the flakes’ movements. It’s like dinner theatre on an iron skillet.
Although I wouldn’t recommended willy-nilly tossing a pile of noodles onto your Weber (that could be a disaster), I would suggest you expand your notion of grilled food and give yakisoba a go this season.