The Beloved Purple Yam
Camille Wong | Aug 31, 2017
In Hawai'i and Filipino communities, ube has long captured the hearts and mouths of many, but on the mainland, only recently has this flavor been taking on the culinary world by a big purple wave.
Ube (oo-bae) is not to be confused with other purple foods such as the Okinawan sweet potato- it is actually a yam, homegrown in the Philippines, with its own distinct flavor. Described by one chef as “something similar to white chocolate, with earthy notes, combined with a traditional sweet potato”, it is velvet-like in texture and has a naturally vibrant purple hue.
Serving as a base or star ingredient of a recipe, ube is found in sweet preparations such as Halo Halo, Ube Halaya, ice cream, cake and pastries. Fresh ube is hard to find, but its other forms as frozen, powdered, extract or jam are available.
Today a simple search of the word ube will get you pages and pages of recipes, articles and food establishments featuring it, some even dedicating their whole menu to it! The chef who was mentioned above, Björn DelaCruz of Manila Social Club in New York, is one key player in bringing ube to the forefront of modern cuisine. His creation that lit up the Instagram foodie world was an ube donut, “adorned with icing made with Cristal champagne and filled with an ube mousse, champagne jelly and covered in 24K gold.” He now sells his famous decadent donut for $40 per dozen, exclusively on Fridays.
A simple search of the word 'ube' will get you pages and pages of recipes, articles and food establishments featuring it, some even dedicating their whole menu to it!
Speaking of exclusive, a place right here in Hawai'i also has people strategically planning a visit and lining up for blocks for their own specialty ube treat: uber tarts! Uber Factory is the desert shop in Wahiawa that pumps out these sweet treats, four times a week. About 2” in diameter, these tartlets are simple and oh so ono! They are made with a shortbread crust and ube custard filling, served chilled. Chef Andy Dalan, creator of the original uber tart, said he first made them for a friend’s birthday, in place of a cake. They were such a hit that he began getting requests for them for potlucks, weddings and Manny Paquiao fights. Now he has multiple variations of the tart, with flavors such as black lava salted caramel and kulolo coconut crunch.
In May, 7-Eleven Hawai'i partnered with Chef Andy to release his beloved treats at all our O’ahu stores for a limited time. They were such a hit that they were brought them back a second time- both days were a huge success! If you didn’t get to try them then, check out how to pre-order and find Uber Factory here, read some rave reviews and see some dreamy pics of this addicting treat.