Text & images courtesy of the Philippine Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany
In response to a growing interest in the purple root sensation all over social media, the Philippine Consulate General Frankfurt finally brought “ube" to Germany through the "Ube Fiesta in Germany” which took place on June 4, 2022. The event showcased for the first time a variety of ube food creations and other Filipino dishes and drinks.
As the event was also held to celebrate Philippine Independence Day, there were interesting cultural presentations and an art exhibition in cooperation with the Filipino Mission in the Archdiocese of Cologne.
What is Ube?
Ube (purple yam or dioscorea alata) is a type of tuberous root crop commonly grown in the Philippines. This root vegetable with a royal purple hue is not a sweet potato, but closely related, similarly starchy and sweet. Of the four main varieties of ube, the 'kinampay' is considered the "Queen of Purple Yams.’
Taste of Ube
Ube is known for its nutty and creamy taste and most especially for its vibrant purple color. The tubers can be eaten boiled, baked, roasted, in flakes or chips and processed into powder while dehydrated yam slices are for food preparation such as ice cream, cakes, pastries, salads, pastas and other desserts. For recipes, visit www.ubefiesta.de.
Ube is Healthy
Ube is an excellent source of dietary fiber and antioxidants that prevent cancer. It is rich in carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C, and phytonutrients. The purple pigment comes from anthocyanin which has pro-health and anti-inflammatory benefits. It regulates metabolism, improves heart function and increases good cholesterol levels.
Ube is Sustainable
Ube is part of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s list of 39 high potential crops based on the established criteria of nutrition, agro-ecology and socio-economic considerations that contributes towards the Zero Hunger goal. Ube is considered one of the Future Smart Foods (FSF) that are nutrition dense, climate-resilient, economic table and locally available or adaptable.
Rediscovering the hidden treasures of Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS) such as ube and the creation of an enabling environment for the promotion, production, marketing and consumption of FSFs assure healthy diets in future.
In the Philippines, local farming communities like the indigenous Aeta farmers, are being trained by both government and non-government organizations on crop diversification, conservation agriculture, and enterprise management in order to increase ube harvest and get the compensation they deserve for their purple crop.
Ube is Trendy
Current global culinary trends particularly the growing popularity of plant-based diets and similar food trends in Germany such as “Conscious Indulgence,” “Experience Beyond the Imagined,” and “ Shaping a Better World,” provided an opportunity to introduce next food items that are not only healthy and sustainable but also novel enough to tickle the senses and provide an impressive and interactive experience. Ube has become popular in the international culinary scene with sustainable and fair trade produce proving popular to consumers and generating interest in a more diverse selection of produce.
Ube is Filipino
For Filipinos, ube is not just a trend. Filipinos have particularly passed down sweet and savory recipes of ube for generations. Its many forms have been part of Filipino fiesta banquets and special occasions. Bohol, a province in south-central Philippines where ube has been cherished for half a millennium, has institutionalized an annual Bohol Ube Festival to recognize the purple root as the agro-historical, geographical and religious symbol of the province. Ube is indeed part of the Filipino culture and heritage.