archaic spelling: ubi

purple yam

The plant that bears ube has the scientific name Dioscorea alata. It has heart-shaped leaves. Ube is also known in English as water yam or winged yam. On the island of Hawaii, it is known as uhi.

Do not confuse ube with taro (scientific name: Colocasia esculenta) or the purple Japanese sweet potato (scientific name: Ipomoea batatas cv. Ayamurasaki).

Purple Yam Candy

Ube is a very popular flavor in the Philippines. The root crop is used mainly in sweet preparations.  It is a favorite flavor of ice cream and of cake. It is also added to haluhalo.

So violet.

Tastes so much like purple yam.

Ube Halaya

A popular Filipino preparation is ube halaya.

Halayang ube is jam made by boiling purple yam, then mixing it with coconut milk and sugar. It can also be added to haluhalo as an ingredient.

Ube Flavoring

You can order ube products like this McCormick bottle from the Fil Am Store in Los Angeles. They also carry ube powder and ube-flavored snacks like Oishi pillows!

NYC-based Korean style guru JINsoon has a color of nail polish called UBE, which is described as a vivid lavender (“a moderately bright, subtle yet vivid lavender that flatters all skin tones”). In the bottle, it looks very close to pink.