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Red Rooster’s yak-a-mein (or yet-ca-mein)
Red Rooster/Official

Where to Find Yak-A-Mein in New Orleans

‘Old Sober’ is an iconic New Orleans noodle soup and hangover cure

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Red Rooster’s yak-a-mein (or yet-ca-mein)
| Red Rooster/Official

Yak-a-mein, a meaty noodle soup known as Old Sober, is New Orleans’s tried and true hangover cure. It’s commonly found at corner groceries and takeout spots, and is a staple at the neighborhood parades called Second Lines and city festivals.

Spelled myriad different ways (yakamein, ya-ka-mein, yaka mein, yaka meat), yak-a-mein is street food, dished up by vendors from the tailgate of pickup trucks. The soulful brew is a crossbreed of Asian and African-American culinary traditions, typically made from a combination of beef, cooked eggs, green onions, and noodles stewed in a spicy, salty broth.

The most popular explanation of its origins is that Black soldiers who fought in the Korean War got a taste of the food and brought it back home, where spouses, mothers, and grandmothers made the recipe their own. Another is that Chinese immigrants who came to Louisiana to work on sugar plantations and railroads brought their noodle soup with them and introduced it to their African-American coworkers.

However it got here, a steaming bowl of Old Sober is a distinctly New Orleans dish. Here now, Eater’s guide to the city’s yak-a-mein, arranged geographically. -BA

Know of a great yak-a-mein we missed? Send us a tip.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Red Rooster Snowball Stand

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2801 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 895-6786
Visit Website

Line up at the window (or now, order online) at the wonderful Red Rooster, just off Washington Avenue near the Magnolia Marketplace shopping center, and place an order for snowballs, po’boys and of course, yak-a-mein. The soy-driven, salty broth studded with tender nibs of beef makes this yak-a-mein just about perfect.

Dusky soy-infused broth makes Red Rooster’s version of ya-ka-mein a winner
Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

2. John & Mary’s Food Store

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3238 Orleans Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119
504-484-3003

This bright and tidy corner store off Orleans Avenue features a full service take away kitchen that includes Vietnamese, Chinese, and New Orleans dishes, with yak-a-mein always on the menu. The pork flavor is spiked with char siu roasted pork, giving the broth a reddish hue, helped along by a generous squirt of hot sauce.

Pork ya-ka-mein at John and Mary’s comes with plenty of chile heat
Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

3. Eat Well Food Mart

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2700 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 821-7730

A once lesser-known, now well-loved mini mart located on Canal and Broad has a killer food counter known for its Vietnamese specialties like banh mi and pho. It serves a yak-a-mein that’s just as good (and a great value) with a somewhat notable distinction — a flat, linguine-shaped noodle.

Eat Well Food Mart
Eat Well/Facebook

4. Ms. Linda the Yak-A-Mein Lady

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925 Camp St
New Orleans, LA 70130

New Orleans native and culinary icon Linda Green, aka Ms. Linda the Ya-Ka-Mein Lady, creates her signature dish at festivals, Second Lines, and at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s After Hours program — in normal times. Currently, your best bet is to follow Ms. Linda’s Facebook page for pop-ups and collaborations and check in on her website for catering and other opportunities. Hers is the ya-ka-mein gold standard, so don’t miss it.

5. Manchu Food Store

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1413 N Claiborne Ave
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 947-5507

Although the low-slung purple building at the corner of Claiborne and Esplanade is known for its wings (and with good reason), this family-owned eatery also dishes Chinese food, po’ boys, and egg rolls in numbers meant for tailgating. The mamas in the kitchen also prepare yak-a-mein to order, stir-frying the noodles and adding bits of what tastes almost like corned beef to the broth.

Man Chu dishes a darn good ya-ka-mein, freshly made to order
Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

6. Rampart Food Store

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1700 N Rampart St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 944-7777

The Rampart Food Store, aka the Orange Store, is renowned for its cheap, jumbo shrimp and fried to order po-boys. But the lighter than usual ya-ka-mein is worth the trip too, thanks to a frizzle of ramen noodles, thin curls of beef and fresh veggies like broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower.

Rampart Food Store’s ya-ka-mein
Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

7. The Real Pie Man

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1701 Franklin St
Gretna, LA 70053
(504) 362-4545
Visit Website

Gretna’s beloved Real Pie Man is as popular for its Creole gumbo and yak-a-mein as it is for its counter full of lovely fruit pies. Pie Man’s brew comes with dark broth with layers of flavor, all-the-way boiled eggs, and big hunks of beef debris, and it’s available for takeout.

The Real Pie Man’s ya-ka-mein
The Real Pie Man/Facebook

8. Capt. Sal's Seafood & Chicken

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3168 St Claude Ave
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 948-9990
Visit Website

For a version of yak-a-mein on the lighter side, head to this family-owned seafood shop on St. Claude in Bywater. Besides all manner of boiled seafood, order the beef or chicken, a portion floating with veggies like bok choy, carrots, and bell pepper in the mix.

Veggies are front and center in Captain Sal’s ya-ka-mein
Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

9. Bywater Bakery

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3624 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 336-3336
Visit Website

Can’t make it to the Ogden? This spunky little neighborhood bakery in the Bywater dishes yak-a-mein for lunch, a steaming cup for $7. Save room for dessert here, the chocolate doberge by the slice is swoon-worthy.

Bywater Bakery’s ya-ka-mein
Bywater Bakery/Facebook

1. Red Rooster Snowball Stand

2801 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113
Dusky soy-infused broth makes Red Rooster’s version of ya-ka-mein a winner
Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

Line up at the window (or now, order online) at the wonderful Red Rooster, just off Washington Avenue near the Magnolia Marketplace shopping center, and place an order for snowballs, po’boys and of course, yak-a-mein. The soy-driven, salty broth studded with tender nibs of beef makes this yak-a-mein just about perfect.

2801 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70113

2. John & Mary’s Food Store

3238 Orleans Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119
Pork ya-ka-mein at John and Mary’s comes with plenty of chile heat
Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

This bright and tidy corner store off Orleans Avenue features a full service take away kitchen that includes Vietnamese, Chinese, and New Orleans dishes, with yak-a-mein always on the menu. The pork flavor is spiked with char siu roasted pork, giving the broth a reddish hue, helped along by a generous squirt of hot sauce.

3238 Orleans Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119

3. Eat Well Food Mart

2700 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119
Eat Well Food Mart
Eat Well/Facebook

A once lesser-known, now well-loved mini mart located on Canal and Broad has a killer food counter known for its Vietnamese specialties like banh mi and pho. It serves a yak-a-mein that’s just as good (and a great value) with a somewhat notable distinction — a flat, linguine-shaped noodle.

2700 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70119

4. Ms. Linda the Yak-A-Mein Lady

925 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130

New Orleans native and culinary icon Linda Green, aka Ms. Linda the Ya-Ka-Mein Lady, creates her signature dish at festivals, Second Lines, and at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s After Hours program — in normal times. Currently, your best bet is to follow Ms. Linda’s Facebook page for pop-ups and collaborations and check in on her website for catering and other opportunities. Hers is the ya-ka-mein gold standard, so don’t miss it.

925 Camp St
New Orleans, LA 70130

5. Manchu Food Store

1413 N Claiborne Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
Man Chu dishes a darn good ya-ka-mein, freshly made to order
Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

Although the low-slung purple building at the corner of Claiborne and Esplanade is known for its wings (and with good reason), this family-owned eatery also dishes Chinese food, po’ boys, and egg rolls in numbers meant for tailgating. The mamas in the kitchen also prepare yak-a-mein to order, stir-frying the noodles and adding bits of what tastes almost like corned beef to the broth.

1413 N Claiborne Ave
New Orleans, LA 70116

6. Rampart Food Store

1700 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Rampart Food Store’s ya-ka-mein
Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

The Rampart Food Store, aka the Orange Store, is renowned for its cheap, jumbo shrimp and fried to order po-boys. But the lighter than usual ya-ka-mein is worth the trip too, thanks to a frizzle of ramen noodles, thin curls of beef and fresh veggies like broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower.

1700 N Rampart St
New Orleans, LA 70116

7. The Real Pie Man

1701 Franklin St, Gretna, LA 70053
The Real Pie Man’s ya-ka-mein
The Real Pie Man/Facebook

Gretna’s beloved Real Pie Man is as popular for its Creole gumbo and yak-a-mein as it is for its counter full of lovely fruit pies. Pie Man’s brew comes with dark broth with layers of flavor, all-the-way boiled eggs, and big hunks of beef debris, and it’s available for takeout.

1701 Franklin St
Gretna, LA 70053

8. Capt. Sal's Seafood & Chicken

3168 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117
Veggies are front and center in Captain Sal’s ya-ka-mein
Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

For a version of yak-a-mein on the lighter side, head to this family-owned seafood shop on St. Claude in Bywater. Besides all manner of boiled seafood, order the beef or chicken, a portion floating with veggies like bok choy, carrots, and bell pepper in the mix.

3168 St Claude Ave
New Orleans, LA 70117

9. Bywater Bakery

3624 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70117
Bywater Bakery’s ya-ka-mein
Bywater Bakery/Facebook

Can’t make it to the Ogden? This spunky little neighborhood bakery in the Bywater dishes yak-a-mein for lunch, a steaming cup for $7. Save room for dessert here, the chocolate doberge by the slice is swoon-worthy.

3624 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA 70117

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