Ube is taking over the world

Okay, maybe just North America. Purple yam dessert creations have been popping up in US and Canadian eateries because of its increasing popularity—from the classic ice cream, cake, donuts, waffles, cupcakes, pancakes, milk shakes, among others.

“..you can now get down with ube in cheesecake and sweet potato pie form, as well as hipster-inflected varieties of cookies, ice cream, and other bakery standbys,” said a GQ article.

ube golden cristal donut MSC
Golden Cristal Donut by Manila Social Club (Photo by @manilasocialclub)

Ube is a type of yam that has a bright purple color. Used mostly in sweet dishes, it’s one of Filipinos’ favorite dessert ingredients. One popular dessert here is the ube halaya—boiled ube, mashed and cooked (for hours) with condensed milk, sugar, and butter—this is eaten as it is or used as topping for another traditional Filipino dessert, halo-halo. Ube is likewise used in various kakanin. It’s also used in modern desserts like cakes, ice cream, and cupcakes. To say Filipinos like ube is an understatement.

In the same GQ article, it introduced the world how to pronounce the brightly colored root crop—“OO-BAE.” That’s right. Now, more Millennials will have fun with this amazing Filipino export. “Want some ube, bae?” “This is one good, ube-bae.” “This bae won’t leave me and it’s sweet, too.” Alright, enough, you get it.

GQ also mentioned how Chef Björn dela Cruz of Manila Social Club, a Filipino restaurant based in Brooklyn, New York, elevated the humble Filipino dessert. Its Golden Cristal Donut recently made headlines because of its over-the-top nature. The donut is made of ube batter with Cristal champagne and then covered with gold flakes. A dozen is worth $1,000! But don’t worry, the resto also sells its bestselling Ube Bae donuts (pictured on top @manilasocialclub)  or regular ube donuts. (Bae, LOL)

ube bon appetit
Ube Cheesecake (photo by @bonappetitmag)

The Filipino food movement currently happening in North America has also helped its popularity. More and more North American diners are being introduced to different ube desserts. It’s Instagram worthy, too! It’s bright and unusual color (for food) is perfect for the photo-sharing social media app. Bon Appétit magazine’s Instagram account (1.5m followers) even featured the ube cheesecake made by Jeepney and Maharlika restaurants of New York.

In Canada, on the other hand, blogTO declared that ube desserts is the “next big thing” in Toronto. The blog that has more than 150,000 followers on Instagram cited several Filipino restaurants that offer the dessert like Tito Ron’s (Turon Ice Cream Sundae), Platito (Fried Chicken and Ube Waffles), Lamesa (Ube Leche Flan).

So, if you’re looking for a new dessert to munch on, try ube. We assure you, you’re going to love it.


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