Green cooks her ya-ka-mein and other soul food dishes (gumbo, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, bread pudding) in a kitchen she shares with Bywater Bakery, which also sells her famous elixir. She is constantly coming up with new recipes to fit a variety of dietary requests, including a seafood-only ya-ka-mein, and a vegetarian option, as well as more exotic versions like alligator and duck. Her personal favorite is the oyster ya-ka-mein. The local acclaim has even earned her national attention: Anthony Bourdain sampled her signature dish on his former Travel Channel series No Reservations, telling her it was a “flavor he’d never experienced before.”
Still, ya-ka-mein remains relatively unknown beyond Louisiana. But that could change. Green hopes to one day franchise Ms. Linda’s Soul Foul and bring the distinctly local dish to cities like Houston, Atlanta, and New York. Until then, she’s keeping herself busy teaching her nine grandchildren how to cook.
“I tell them this is their legacy,” she says.
We’re guessing generations of New Orleanians, who have again and again turned to a warming bowl of ya-ka-mein as their cure-all, would have to agree.