NEW ORLEANS — Ms. Linda’s yakamein is a Jazz Fest staple and a recipe that’s been in her family for generations.
Known to many as “Old Sober” or the “Hangover Helper,” yakamein’s popularity in New Orleans dates back decades, and maybe even more than a century. But for all the Jazz Fest out-of-towners, what is yakamein?
According to Ms. Linda Green, it’s a “Chinese-Vietnamese-African-American soul dish.”
It’s a beef broth noodle soup filled with various meats and proteins, a delicacy that New Orleanians rely on to fight their hangovers when they had a few too many the night before.
Some say yakamein gained popularity after the Vietnam War, when black soldiers came back wanting a taste of Southeast Asia, but only had Louisiana ingredients. Others say it got its start here as early as 1902.
Ms. Linda’s recipe dates back generations as well.
“My grandmother, she was the one that started cooking it, and everyone would come to our house with a bowl,” she said. “And then my mother started selling it.”
Now, Ms. Linda, affectionately known as the “yakamein lady,” feeds the masses at local festivals.
“I have people all over the world contacting me, telling me we are on our way to come and see you, so I have to prepare for that, and it makes me feel good,” she said.
You can find Ms. Linda’s yakamein at Jazz Fest this weekend.