photography by KRISTIN LIMOGES
Ube (pronounced oo-bae) is a purple yam that’s common in the Philippines and other Asian countries, and the vegetable is starting to pop up everywhere stateside—from soft serve to classic halo-halo desserts to ube waffles. It’s finally the star of the show, along with the rightful popularization of other Filipino foods.
And that purple hue? It packs a major health punch. The potent purple color comes from potent antioxidants like anthocyanins, which help promote heart and brain health (and possibly even cancer protection, according to the USDA).
The superfood was an obvious choice for the New York health cafe/non-toxic salon/spa Chillhouse. The cafe features “the” iced drink of the summer known as “Ube Bey Iced Latte,” featuring ube, your choice of alternative milk, and ginger sugar. And, yes, it has a lovely soft lilac color.
Founder Cyndi Ramirez says ube is “a win for your taste buds and for your bod. Being that it's a purple yam, it has tons of antioxidants and contains tons of Vitamin A, C and E. It also boasts potassium and fiber, which we all know is wonderful for the tummy.”
The other good news? The flavor. It has a nutty, white chocolate flavor, which is why it’s so often paired in desserts. Yes, eating your vegetables can be fun.
Wanting to add some purple DIY to your life? Cooking websites are jammed back with ube recipes—a Google search for "ube recipes" turns up 424,000 results—usually coming from either fresh ube, ube powder, or ube jam, which is easy to find online or most Asian and Filipino grocery stores. Throw some in a smoothie or a cookie or milkshake, and taste the rainbow.