Widely available in Japanese convenience stories as 'yakisoba pan', this simple concoction makes for a solid post-pub snack
While in the UK and US we might be found wolfing burgers and kebabs after a night out, I like to imagine the Japanese scarfing down fried-noodle sandwiches, or yakisoba pan (yakisoba meaning "fried noodles in sauce" and pan meaning "bread"). Apparently this sandwich is widely available in convenience stores. Noodles are fried with vegetables such as carrot and bell pepper, then seasoned with yakisoba sauce (an intense, umami-rich concoction) and stuffed into a hot-dog bun. The sandwich is finished with strips of pickled ginger, dried seaweed and often sweetened mayo.
Vegetable oil, for frying
4 slices bacon, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper
1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
½ small onion, thinly sliced
2 x 3oz (85g) packets instant egg noodles
2-3 tbsp yakisoba sauce, plus extra for garnishing
4 white hot-dog buns, split open
Strips of pickled ginger, to serve
Dried green seaweed (aonori), to serve (optional)
Homemade yakisoba sauce
Mix together until combined:
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp superfine (caster) sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
Sea salt, to taste
To make the sandwich
Heat a wok over a medium-high heat and add a little vegetable oil. Fry the bacon strips in this until they start to turn crispy, then remove them from the wok and set aside.
Fry the vegetables in the same wok you used for the bacon, and when they are starting to color but still retain some crunch, remove them and put them to one side.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain.
Add a little more oil to the wok and add the drained noodles, stirring them constantly. When they are beginning to get crispy in places, add the yakisoba sauce. Stir through the vegetables and bacon, making sure everything is piping hot.
When ready to serve, pile the noodle mixture into the buns and garnish with a final drizzle of yakisoba sauce, strips of pickled ginger and a sprinkling of dried seaweed, if using.
• 101 Sandwiches by Helen Graves is published by Dog 'n' Bone (£12.99, hardback). Call 01256 302699 quoting GLR8UY to purchase a copy at the special price of £9.99 including free p&p. Visit cicobooks.co.uk for more.
In Picture: Sauce code ... Helen Graves's fried-noodle sandwich - aka yakisoba pan. Photograph: Stephen Conroy