By: Bonnie Burgess
Like a mad scientist, the Yakamein Lady cascades her steaming potion from beaker to beaker. Forget the white coat, she’s in a tee and sunglasses, and meticulously concocting a beef soup – New Orleans style. This August, she and her soulful, yakamein food truck will visit the SF Street Food Festival, all the way from the Gulf Coast, and you won’t want to miss her in action.
More formerly known as Miss Linda Green, she is as artful as she is methodic in preparing her yakamein– the solo item on her raved-about menu. From a steamy vat, she ladles the beef broth over noodles and swooshes it back and forth between the bowl and the vat until the nest of noodles fully captures the flavor. The result is a unique and satisfying combination of a full-bodied savory and a hint of sweet. Imagine a hearty noodle soup heaping with chuck roast, hard-boiled egg, scallions, and topped to your taste with sweet and spicy sauces – it’s a proper fusion of East and West beneath your spoon.
The soup originally emerged as a late-night street food for hepcats. After a night in the bustling jazz clubs, folks wandered through New Orleans’ Chinatown looking for a snack and wound down with a bowl of yakamein, or “Old Sober” as it became known. Now the Yakamein Lady is keeping up its glory.
Ten years ago, the Yakamein Lady began tantalizing the taste buds of NOLA’s street food scene, and has since landed in the spotlight of No Reservations, United Tastes of America and Chopped. Anthony Bourdain, in particular, marveled at her polished handling of the New Orleans-style soup, remarking it’s the way she “gets those flavors marrying up doing magical things.”
On August 18, the Yakamein Lady is coming to town, and you can experience Old Sober for yourself at the SF Street Food Festival. Snag a bowl and taste the rich, wholesome and meaty goodness of the Creole-rooted soup. Get ready because after Miss Linda meticulously masters a perfect union in your bowl, she’ll pass it to you for the finishing touch, a trifecta of sauce, customizing your own medley of hot sauce, soy sauce and sweet sauce.
Not only does yakamein cure a Friday night hangover, but slurping down a piping bowl is certainly something to feel good about. Miss Linda’s festival profits will be donated to San Francisco’s own incubator kitchen, La Cocina, helping develop local food entrepreneurs. With a festival passport in hand, explore San Francisco’s multicultural cuisine corralled on Folsom Street, while supporting the food movement in our backyard.
So let’s jazz up our southern hospitality and welcome the Yakamein Lady into The Bay with open mouths, grumbling bellies, and hands poised to sauce your yakamein.
Stay tuned for more news!