Get Your Yam On
Photo Courtesy by Chustine Minoda
By Stefanie Ellis
For those who have grown up with ube, it’s exciting to finally see the rest of the world taking notice. Ube desserts of every kind can now be seen all over Instagram, and the New York Times and Huffington Post are describing it as the “it” food trend. Still, there is a learning curve for most Americans when it comes to truly understanding the glory that is the purple yam.
Seattle is starting to see bright shades of violet peek through the grey skies, though, thanks to local Filipino bakeries and restaurants spreading the ube love across the Emerald City. Here’s a roundup of seven places where you can get your yam on!
Full Tilt Ice Cream – White Center, Columbia City, U-District, Ballard
At this funky ice cream joint with arcade games and flavors like Thai iced tea, birthday cake and mango chili, ube isn’t out of place, but it’s one of their most unique flavors. According to the scoopers, it’s one of their more popular offerings and is served year-round, which is saying a lot. Ube is in demand here, which sounds pretty sweet to us!
Fil Cuisine – Kent
This Filipino restaurant has the traditional menu items you’d expect, such as pancit, lumpia and turon, but people go out of their way for the halo halo, laden with jackfruit, coconut jelly, sweet potato, sugar palm, banana, sweet red beans, topped with ube ice cream.
Valerio’s Tropical Bakeshop – Tukwila
Be prepared to stand in line at this tiny bakery inside Seafood City, which sits inside Southcenter mall. For as small as it is, this bakery offers one of the largest selection of ube baked goods in the city. You’ll find hopia ube, ensaymada ube, ube bread and rolls, and kakanin such as kalamay ube and biko ube. The vivid purple biko is the true standout here — made with ube powder and flavoring, it has a rich coconut flavor and perfectly chewy texture.
Despi Delite Bakery – Everett and Beacon Hill
Despi Delite has been in business over 20 years, and has two locations in the south and north ends of Seattle. They make mini ube bread, ube cake, ube cheesecake, ube cinnamon rolls and ube donuts, which is one of their most Instagrammed bakery items.
Big Boys Kainan – Kent
This full-service Filipino restaurant has some big flavors, so it makes sense they’d have a big dessert. Here, halo halo is reimagined as a waffle — one made with ube, of course! It’s topped with halo halo toppings such as red and white beans, coconut jelly, macapuno and bananas, and comes crowned with a giant mound of ube ice cream.
Central District Ice Cream Company – Central District
They don’t regularly have ube on the menu, so be sure and call ahead before you go. Recently, they collaborated with Hood Famous Bakeshop to create an ube cheesecake ice cream, which Hood made into ice cream cookie sandwiches with their ube cookies. Past specials include ube ice cream cones.
Photo Courtesy by Lilac + Twine
Our Top Pick
Hood Famous Bakeshop – Ballard
Celebrating their one-year anniversary at their tiny brick and mortar is a big deal for a business that started with cheesecake owner Chera Amlag brought to a neighborhood potluck. After that, people started asking for it so much, she and her husband started making their desserts at pop-ups and bake sales across the city. Now, they’re using their store to host local Pinay bakers every Saturday in October.
Their tender, gummy bear-like ube marshmallows aren’t as sweet as most marshmallows, and their ube cheesecake is dense and rich, with a brilliant color owed to ube jam and extract. Modeled after the krinkle cookie, Hood’s ube cookies are are true showstoppers — tender, moist and intensely buttery — like a mashup of marzipan and shortbread. You can order them online, so GET THESE COOKIES NOW!
Past specials that may return: ube halaya tarts; ube pie; ube marshmallow Rice Krispies treat; ube ice cream cookie sandwiches; halo halo with ube cheesecake.
Photo Courtesy by Eater