February 2024







Ube Pretzels

Trader Joe's

If you’re not familiar with ube, it’s a common treat or ingredient in treats in the Philippines. The simplest way to describe it is that it’s a bright purple, sweet potato. The idea of sweet potato being used in sweets is kind of a unique and new concept here in North America, but in Asia and some other parts of the world it’s actually really common. When I first heard this my brain had a little trouble trying to figure out how to make a sweet potato based candy, but after a while I realized that it actually makes more sense as a sweet ingredient than a savoury.

While I’ve had some great luck with ube and other sweet potato snacks, this one didn’t really work well for me. I would say that the only thing about these that felt like ube was the fact that it was sweet and that it was purple. I’m not saying that there isn’t any ube in this, I’m just saying that the spirit and flavour of the main ingredient didn’t really shine. I felt like this was more of a purple flavoured white chocolate coating with a strong coconut flavour.

The package claims that the coating is yogourt, but I didn’t taste any yogourt at all. I find that yogourt coatings often suffer because they end up very sweet, when yogourt is actually a little tart or at least tangy. I also find that many ube flavoured treats I’ve had have a hard time selling the sweet potato flavour. It’s not uncommon for the flavour to simply be sweet, like these. There’s something very unique about eating something that is made mostly of ube, and to keep it authentic it really just has to be made mostly with ube.

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t know if it’s possible to really represent ube with a yogourt covered pretzel. It feels more like a pretzel that’s covered in a sweet purple coating that looks kind of cool but tastes like coconut.