10 Places in Orange County to Get Ube, Our Next Big Dessert Trend
Orange County, meet ube. Ube, meet Orange County. While the ingredient—commonly used in Filipino desserts—has been popular amongst Los Angeles eateries and local turo-turo joints, it’s only making its introduction as a hot trend in our county this year. This is only the warm-up of what could be the next big trend—though we won’t see anything like Café 86 in Chino and Pasadena (ube central, essentially) popping up anytime soon. In general, Filipino food and its extensions are difficult to find here, but—hurrah—we’re starting to see local chefs experiment with it in interesting ways.
Scoops OC (Santa Ana)
Scoops OC’s take on ube is one of the more creative ones around. I present to you ube Oreo: contender for most unique flavor of the year. But, of course, this seemingly odd combination makes sense in the world of Scoops, where black sesame and apple pie exist in ice cream-form the same way vanilla does. 605 E Santa Ana Blvd, Santa Ana, (657) 210-0399; facebook.com/scoopsoc
Marshmallows on taro: slightly controversial but you be the judge
UJelly (Fountain Valley)
If anybody understands food trends it’s Andy Nguyen and Scott Nghiem of Afters Ice Cream, who—along with LysaThuy Pham—opened UJelly earlier this year. Among the shop’s wacky flavors is a normal one—ube—which looks like a purple version of Homer Simpson’s donuts. The taro donut is thick, cake-like, and topped with icing, merging Asian flavors with that of the West. Inside the donut is a light and thin taro-flavored filling. 16051 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley; Instagram: @ujellyujelly
Milk Bar (Fountain Valley)
Naturally, a place as trendy as Milk Bar (where rainbow bar ice cream sandwiches exist) would do something with ube. To elaborate, I shall quote myself:
Architecturally, the ice cream sandwich consists of two rectangular rainbow bars holding a large scoop of ice cream in the middle—their ends creeping over ice cream-less edges. You don't want to eat this like a sandwich, unless you're okay with bright stains on your clothes. Instead, eat the dessert in steps: first, take the provided spoon and scoop some ice cream (I tried ube) into your mouth. Then, pick off a piece of the rainbow bar with your hand. Thin and moderately sweet, it adds subtle bouts of crispiness to each bite the way a waffle cone does. The ube ice cream is thick and melts so quickly that, five minutes into the dessert, it begins seeping through the remaining rainbow bar. Now—grab some napkins first—you'll need to finish the rest with your hands.
16051 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, (714) 884-4269; Instagram: @milkbaroc
Inside SKUP (Fullerton)
This is where you go for not only ube ice cream but ube iced cookies too (where—duh—you’ll turn into a double ube ice cream sandwich). I wrote about Inside SKUP last summer:
These days, colleges come with ice cream sandwich shops. UCLA paved the way with Diddy Riese, UC Irvine acquired Stax Cookie Bar, and now Cal State Fullerton has Inside SKUP. But Inside SKUP is different from the rest, and there are several reasons for it: first of all, they carry Asian-inspired ice cream flavors like lychee, Thai coconut cream, Vietnamese coffee, and ube. And secondly, they don't just serve cookie ice cream sandwiches but also brownie and donut ones.
575 N Commonwealth Ave, (714) 869-3110; facebook.com/insideskup
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