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In the mid-1990s I was an RN on the night shift at University Hospital (“Little Charity”) in New Orleans. Every few months one of our nursing assistants would announce that she would be making “yaka-meat” the next night. She’d do it all in the staff microwave. It was tangy and spicy and so good. If it was a busy night, you might not get your bowl until after the shift was over, but just knowing it was waiting (and the wonderful aroma) was sustaining.

China Orchid on Carrollton Avenue also had a delicious version (“yat-ka-mein” on their menu). I don’t live in NO anymore so I’m not sure if it’s still there, but you can certainly find versions all over the city.