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Release | Takako Chiba

“Yakisoba Bento” is a comfort food for people in Hokkaido! What is the attraction of Hokkaido limited instant noodles?



 
Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” is a Hokkaido limited instant yakisoba noodle also known as “Yakiben” to people in Hokkaido. The instant Chinese soup which comes with “Yakisoba Bento” is essential to us. Yakisoba Bento has many kinds of flavor such as basic, salt, tarako butter, etc. Hokkaido Likers searched for secrets for the long affection towards this instant noodles.
 

Table of Contents

- What is Hokkaido limited instant yakisoba noodle “Yakisoba Bento”?
- The history of Yakisoba Bento
- I can’t think of Yakisoba Bento without the Chinese soup! 
- I made Yakisoba Bento and had it
- Many kinds of Yakisoba Bento
- Yakisoba Bento can be a souvenir from Hokkaido​

 

What is Hokkaido limited instant yakisoba noodle “Yakisoba Bento”? 

Maruchan’s “Yakisoba Bento” has been loved by people in Hokkaido since it first started selling in Hokkaido in 1976. Maybe it’s not known too well outside of Hokkaido. Because Yakisoba Bento is limitedly sold in Hokkaido. 

It is made at Hokkaido Factory of Toyo Suisan in Zenibako, Otaru City. Yes, it 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. Yakisoba Bento are produced in this factory. 

Hokkaido people understand even if you call it “Yakiben”. Every person in Hokkaido at least had Yakisoba Bento once in their life: after-school clubs, before going to clam schools, when they got a little hungry, or even after drinking to end the night. 

There are many different instant yakisoba noodles and if there are new products, we get attracted to different noodles sometimes, however, we always go back to Yakiben or Yakisoba Bento. Because it is almost like a comfort food to us. 
 

“Yakisoba Bento” started selling all over Japan in 1975 and in Hokkaido in 1976

Maruchan’s Yakisoba Bento started selling in August of 1975. However, it was not available in Hokkaido at that time. It became available since February of 1976. This one year was to adjust flavors to people in Hokkaido. At that time, the research showed that people in Hokkaido preferred sweeter flavor when it came to instant yakisoba noodles. 
Let’s check out the history of 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 hole to throw the hot water was round and in my memory noodles and toppings came out…
 

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 do remember this package. 
 

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.
 

We can notice the designs have changed over the years. Wait, did the flavor change? I asked the CSR public relations department of Toyo Suisan. 
“We do adjust and reconsider the flavor over time but we have not changed the core flavors that are in everyone’s mind since the beginning. Memories are very important. So we are not planning to change the flavor suddenly.”
 
The sauce is a little sweet from vegetables and fruits, yet has a deep flavor. The noodles are thin but have chewy textures. The crunchy cabbage and minced chicken. And the Chinese soup. The deliciousness of Yakisoba Bento in memories of people in Hokkaido has not changed and will not change. 
 

I can’t think of Yakisoba Bento without the Chinese soup! 

We can find many kinds of instant yakisoba noodles in convenience stores and supermarkets, but I guess Yakisoba Bento is the only one which comes with instant Chinese soup. (Researched by Hokkaido Likers editors team) However, there might be instant noodles comes with a soup which is not sold in Hokkaido. 
Yakisoba Bento comes with instant Chinese soup from 1976. The soup was added to make customers warm during winter since Hokkaido gets very cold. 
 

東洋水産、マルちゃんの「やきそば弁当」の中身▲Chinese Soup comes with toppings and sauce.
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▲Chinese soup is essential for Yakisoba Bento.
Photo was taken by Chiba

I made Yakisoba Bento and had it

Yakisoba Bento is an instant yakisoba noodle so the instructions are the same as normal instant noodles. Put on the toppings, pour boiled water, wait for three minutes, throw away the water and mix with the sauce! However, The biggest difference between Yakisoba Bento is the process of throwing water! 
Don’t throw away the water in a sink! 
 
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▲Make Chinese soup with the water.
Photo was taken by Chiba

Make attached instant Chinese soup with the water you usually throw away. “Yakisoba Bento” is not complete with the Chinese soup! 


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

Noodles are thin yet chewy. The sauce is not salty, it’s a little sweet and you never get bored of the flavor. 



I have been eating Yakisoba Bento for many many years but I never got sick of it! In fact, I crave for Yakisoba Bento regularly. Yakisoba Bento is built into our culture in Hokkaido. 

Oh, I am now craving for it as I was writing! 
 

There are many kinds of Yakisoba Bento, why don’t you try everything?

There are three sizes of basic Yakisoba Bento. Regular, Oban (1.3 times bigger) came out in 1988, and “Dekkai Yakisoba Bento” (2 times bigger) came out in 2001. 

Also, there are more to flavors than simple sauce flavor. You definitely should try everything! 

- Yakisoba Bento


This is the standard Yakisoba Bento. It has great accents of crunchy cabbages and minced chickens. The flavor of the sauce is a little sweetened because the research showed that people in Hokkaido prefer sweeter flavor when it comes to instant yakisoba noodles. 

[toppings] cabbages, minced chickens, sea lettuce, red pickled ginger, and Chinese soup
[sauce] A little sweetened with vegetables and fruits 

- Oban Yakisoba Bento


The large Yakisoba Bento with 1.3 times more noodles (130g) than the regular Yakisoba Bento (100g). Try this one when you want to have more than standard Yakisoba Bento. 

[toppings] cabbages, minced chickens, sea lettuce, red pickled ginger, Chinese soup
[sauce] A little sweetened with vegetables and fruits 

- Dekkai Yakisoba Bento


The extra large version of Yakisoba Bento which has two times more noodles (200g) compared to the regular Yakisoba Bento (100g). Big eaters even Oban is not enough should be satisfied with this one! By the way, the amount of Chinese soup is the same no matter if it’s regular, Oban, or Dekkai. 

[toppings] cabbages, minced chickens, sea lettuce, red pickled ginger, Chinese soup
[sauce] A little sweetened with vegetables and fruits 

- Yakisoba Bento Tarako-Aji Butter-Fumi (tarako and butter flavor)


Tarako (cod roe) and yakisoba may sound strange to most of you, however, you will be surprised by how well these two go! The butter flavor feels very mild. 

[toppings] green onion, sea lettuce, Chinese soup
[sauce] Based on chicken broth and vegetables. Tarako flavor with a little butter.  

- Yakisoba Bento Choi-Kara (spicy)


This Yakisoba Bento is for adults. The spicy flavor creates certain addiction. It is also rare because this one only comes with “consommé soup” instead of Chinese Soup.  

[toppings] cabbage, flavored minced meat, spicy powders, and consommé soup
[sauce] Based on “Doro Sauce” which contains the natural flavor of sauce and spiciness. It adds multiple spices to produce the spicy yet complex flavor. 

- Yakisoba Bento Uma-Shio (salt)


This is rather light with salt flavor. I sometimes crave for this flavor. 

[toppings] minced meat, parsleys and black pepper sprinkles, and Chinese soup
[sauce] Based on pork broth. Adds potherb and seafood to produce the deep flavor

- Yakisoba Bento Yakitokibi-fu Kogashi-Shoyu Aji (grilled corn and charred soy sauce)


This is the newest flavor of Yakisoba Bento! The combination of grilled corn and charred soy sauce reminds the corn stall in Odori Park of Sapporo. 

[toppings] cabbage, flavored minced meat, parsleys and black pepper sprinkles, and Chinese soup
[sauce] Based on pork broth and vegetables, adds soy sauce flavor of charred soy sauce and grilled corn

- Yakisoba Bento Okonomi sauce Aji (Okonomiyaki sauce)


“Yakisoba Bento” uses basically thin noodles with chewy textures but this flavor uses thick noodles with a chewy texture. The sauce has a great balance of sweetness and sourness, which mixes very well with thick noodles. 

[toppings] cabbages, flavored minced meat, parsleys and black pepper sprinkles, and Chinese soup
[sauce] Based on pork broth. Adds fruits vinegar and garlic and produces fruity and mild texture with apple juice. 

Every flavor is delicious so please give it a try.

* All products above are as of May 2018. 

Yakisoba Bento can be a souvenir from Hokkaido

Since Maruchan’s Yakisoba Bento is limitedly sold in Hokkaido, some people get them for souvenirs. It needs a little room in your bag but not that heavy even if you bring three or four boxes since each of them is quite light. 

You can find the basic “Yakisoba Bento” in every supermarkets or convenience stores in Hokkaido. You can even find it at the convenience store in Shin-Chitose Airport. Stop by the bigger stores if you are interested in flavors such as “Yakisoba Bento Okonomi sauce flavor” or “Yakisoba Bento Yakitomorokoshi-Fu Kogashi-Shoyu Aji”. 

The instant yakisoba noodles which make me crave from time to time; that is Maruchan’s Yakisoba Bento. Those who are from Hokkaido but don’t live in Hokkaido now, aren’t you craving for it?  

 
* Cooperation
CSR Public Relations Department of Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.

 

Related Links

Maruchan’s instant yakisoba series
Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.
  • “Yakisoba Bento” is a comfort food for people in Hokkaido! What is the attraction of Hokkaido limited instant noodles?
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Takako Chiba

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