May 06, 16 | Takako Chiba

Yakisoba Bento may be Hokkaido’s national dish!

Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento”, commonly called “Yakiben”. Everyone born and raised in Hokkaido must have tried at least once; after school clubs, before going to cramming schools, after drinking  alcohol, etc. There are many instant yakisobas sold in Japan but “Yakisoba Bento”, “Yakiben” is THE instant yakisoba in Hokkaido! 


Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” is THE instant yakisoba in Hokkaido

There are many national dishes of Hokkaido such as Genghis Khan and Soup Curry, but don’t you think this is the national dish too? Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento”, commonly called “Yakiben”. People may think “isn’t it too exaggerating to call instant yakisoba as a national dish?”. But wait a minute! Don’t you stock Yakisoba Bento in your lockers or drawers at the office? Or at home? Don’t you pick Yakisoba Bento after going through other instant noodles at convenience stores or supermarkets? 
 東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」▲Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” (Toyo Suisan). This is THE instant yakisoba in Hokkaido! 

Yakisoba Bento has been loved in Hokkaido since it started being sold. It might not be familiar to people from outside of Hokkaido. Why? Because Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” is only sold in Hokkaido. It is produced at Toyo Suisan’s Hokkaido factory in Zenibako, Otaru City. Yes, Yakisoba Bento is made in Hokkaido!

小樽市銭函にある東洋水産の北海道工場▲Toyo Suisan’s Hokkaido factory in Zenibako, Otaru City. Our Yakiben is made here.


Yakisoba Bento became on sale in 1975 throughout Japan, and debut in Hokkaido in 1976

Maruchan’s Yakisoba started selling in August 1975. However, it was not available in Hokkaido at first. It became on sale from February 1976. They changed the flavor of the sauce and noodles slightly to fit the taste of people in Hokkaido. 
Here is the history of Maruchan’s Yakisoba Bento.

東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」1977年▲Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” in 1977. The shape of the holes to discard hot water was circular. In my memory, noodles and toppings went away together with hot water through these holes…

東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」1988年▲Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” in 1988. 

東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」2002年▲Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” in 2002. Yes! I remember this.

東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」2007年▲Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” in 2007.

 東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」▲And the familiar Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” now.

The change of package design over time is distinctly noticeable. I wondered if the flavor has changed, too. I asked to CSR Public Relations department of Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.
They told me, “there are some parts we reexamine and refine over time, but we take care to not change the taste too much from the memories of customers”.
The sauce is a little bit sweet with vegetables and fruits but yet well-balanced. Thin but chewy noodles. Crunchy cabbages and chicken meatballs. Plus, Chinese soup. The taste of “Yakiben” in the memories of people born and raised in Hokkaido has been delicious and will not change. 


I can’t think of instant yakisoba without Chinese soup!

There are varieties of instant yakisoba if you go to convenience stores or supermarkets but is it only Maruchan’s Yakiben which comes with Chinese soup? (Researched by Hokkaido Likers editors). There may be instant yakisoba products sold outside of Hokkaido and contains soup together… Please tell me if you find anything.
Chinese soup comes with Yakiben since 1976. It started to warm people in Hokkaido with hot soup because the winter in Hokkaido is very harsh. 

東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」の中身▲The sauce and the toppings came with…
Photo by Chiba

東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」の中華スープ▲This Chinese soup. It’s not Yakiben without this soup.
Photo was taken by Chiba

東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」の中華スープに戻し湯を入れる▲Making Chinese soup with hot water discarded.
Photo was taken by Chiba

東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」▲This is Yakiben!
Photo was taken by Chiba


New flavors being produced continuously. Try at least once!

Yakiben has 3 sizes. Regular, and “Ooban” which contains 1.3 times more noodles from Regular started selling in 1988, and “Dekkai Yakisoba Bento” which contains the double amount of noodles in 2001. 

東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」の大判とでっかいやきべん▲“Ooban” is so much amount! I have not tried “Dekkai Yakiben” yet… but I feel like I can eat it completely. By the way, the amount of Chinese soup is same for all sizes.

There are other varieties in flavors other than normal sauce flavor. This year, “Tarako Butter” has renewed. Also “Express” which can be cooked in 1 minute and has a slight flavor or squid started selling recently. 1 minute is very convenient when I am busy! 
東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」のバリエーション▲The varieties of Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento”. Yakiben lovers want to try the new flavor at least once.

Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” is only sold in Hokkaido so I have heard that there are many people to take those home as a souvenir. They take a bit of space in suitcases but they are light so your luggage won’t be too heavy if you buy 3 or 4 of Yakisoba Bento.
The instant yakisoba that people craves somehow is Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento”. Those of you who went away from Hokkaido because of a new school or new job, don’t you miss Yakiben?
* Cooperation
CSR Public Relations Department of Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.


Related Links

Maruchan’s instant yakisoba series (in Japan) 
Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.
  • Yakisoba Bento may be Hokkaido’s national dish!
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Takako Chiba

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