About Ms. Linda

Winner of the Food Network's Chopped: Pride of New Orleans contest and featured on Anthony Bourdain's Food Network show No Reservations, Linda Green reputedly has the best Ya-Ka-Mein in the United States and is known throughout New Orleans as the "Yakamein Lady."

For the past twenty years, she has sold her Ya-Ka-Mein along Second Line routes, along with running Ms. Linda's Catering, which specializes in New Orleans Soul Food cuisine for all size events.

Ms. Linda has served up her delicious food at festivals and events such as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Essence Festival and the Crescent City Farmer's Market. These experiences have shaped her as an entrepreneur and brought her notoriety amongst New Orleans' natives and famous entertainers.

Congratulations!

Ms. Linda Wins Chopped
Congratulations Ms. Linda for winning the Food Network's "Chopped: Pride of New Orleans" contest!

Didn't catch the episode? Click here for future airing dates! 

What is Yakamein?

Ya-ka-Mein is a New Orleans dish made from a combination of meat, eggs, green onions and noodles in a spicy, salty broth with an Asian twist by the addition of soy sauce. Black Korean soldiers made Ya-ka-mein in Korea, using the soup to sober up after a fierce day of fighting and drinking. They brought the dish to the states, where it has been a tradition ever since. It was typically served in African-American bars, Second Lines and festivals, referred to as "Old Sober", reflecting its power to alleviate the pain of hangovers.

Linda Green, simply known by many as the “Yaka Mein Lady”, is the most well known parade and festival Ya-ka-mein purveyor.

No Reservations

Tony travels beyond New Orleans and into Cajun Country to find out what sets bayou culture apart. He dines with locals Wendell Pierce and Lolis Elie, partakes in an authentic crawfish boil and ends his trip with a whole-hog roast.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012 19:00

Miss Linda, The Ya-Ka-Mein lady

Everyone knows Miss Linda.

If you’ve ever been to a festival, a parade, or a concert in New Orleans – (and if you haven’t, you need to get out more, with all due respect) – you’ve undoubtedly seen her, selling Ya-Ka-Mein and other delicious recipes from a tent, a table, or from the back of her truck.

“Ya-Ka-Mein is one of New Orleans' well-best-kept secrets,” Miss Linda will tell you. “It is a soup. They call it Old Sober.”

It acquired its nickname due to its alleged curative powers after a night – or maybe a day (this is New Orleans, after all) – of heavy imbibing.

“You have noodles in it, you have a hard-boiled egg,” Miss Linda explains. “You have green onion. You have any type of meat you want, but I use a boneless chuck roast. And you have green onions, scallions. And you put all of that together, and you put that sauce. Now that sauce is the Ya-Ka-Mein.”

The recipe is a family, and a cultural, tradition.

“It always has been in the black community. My mom used to do it. She used to sell it. She worked with the school board, like I did.”

After Hurricane Katrina, Miss Linda needed a job, and her cooking skills were her salvation.

“Since the school board didn’t call anyone back, I just decided to go out on feet,” she says. “And I have been going out on feet and haven’t looked back yet. I’ve been rolling with the Ya-Ka-Mein.”

And roll she has, attracting attention near and far.

Anthony Bourdain featured Miss Linda on a segment of the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations” filmed in New Orleans. She was interviewed by Larry the Cable Guy for a History Channel program. And she’s appeared on the Cooking Channel’s “United Tastes of America.”

She’s also appearing in an upcoming episode of a popular cooking show, which she’s not supposed to talk about yet (sources tell me it’s “Chopped," on the Food Network).

A lot of notoriety for the humble, 53-year-old New Orleans native.

“I love my city,” she says proudly. “I love my city. My city is very, very good to me.”

And it’s obvious her city – indeed, her country – loves her back.

“When Anthony Bourdain put that Ya-Ka-Mein in his mouth and that expression, that whole expression told me. He didn’t even have to say anything. That expression told me everything.”

Where to find Miss Linda:

Yes, Miss Linda seems to be everywhere; it’s a big job satisfying the stomachs of this city. “I work hard. I work hard," she says with understatement. "And someone say, you one of them hard-workin’ women in Louisiana. I say, I’m one of ‘em. I am one of ‘em. I mean, I love what I do. I love this. I love cooking.”

Additional Info

  • Publication Date: Wednesday, 21 March 2012
  • Author: Glen Abbott
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