Food provides essential nutrition and added pleasure to life. As a celebration of all things food, we’ve compiled a list of 18 food items that start with the letter U. How many of these foods have you tried?

Below is a compiled list of 18 food items that start with the letter U, along with a short description of them. Is there anything missing from the list that I should add? Leave a comment with what I missed and I’ll be sure to give you credit in the blog post for coming up with it!

  1. Ube Halaya
    Ube halaya is a dessert from the Philippines. These boiled and mashed purple yams can be eaten alone or as part of another dessert. Ube ice cream, which retains the purple color of the ube root, is a popular ice cream flavor in the Philippines. Ube has a mellow, vanilla-like flavor that some people describe as creamy and coconut-like. This root can also be used in desserts like halo-halo, a layered dessert.
  2. Udo
    Udo is a Japanese vegetable in the same family as ginseng. Its stalks look similar to asparagus, but udo has a light fennel-like flavor. The udo shoots can grow up to 18 inches long and 1.5 inches thick. It can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in soups or other dishes. Before eating, udo is boiled or soaked to remove a turpentine-like resin from their surface.
  3. Udon
    Udon is a thick noodle made from wheat flour. This thick noodles is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. Udon noodles are typically thicker than ramen noodles. Unlike ramen noodles, udon noodles also come out straight instead of curly. Udon noodles can be used for stir-fry, soup, and more.
  4. Ugali
    Ugali, also known as ugali bagobe pap, n’sima oshifima oruhere or nshima, is a porridge made in Africa. This porridge uses cassava or maize flour. It is a starchy food with a flavor similar to popcorn. This food is a staple in Kenya, where it is served with meat stew and vegetables.
  5. Ugli Fruit
    The ugli fruit, or Jamaican tangelo, is a citrus fruit from Jamaican. This fruit is a hybrid of a tangerine or orange and a grapefruit. Ugli fruit is juicy and has a sweet and tangy flavor with hints of bitterness (like grapefruit). It can be eaten plain or turned into a variety of jams, jellies, and fruit preserves.
  6. Uiro
    Uiro is a traditional Japanese steamed cake made with rice flour and sugar. This chewy cake is subtly sweet and similar to mochi. Uiro come in a variety of flavors such as azuki bean paste, green tea, yuzu, strawberry, and chestnut. They are traditionally steamed into a rectangular shape, although they can be molded into a variety of forms.
  7. Umbrella Fruit
    Umbrella fruit has a green skin and a white, fleshy interior. It often tastes similar to pineapple or mango, although its flesh is hard and crunchy instead of soft. Umbrella fruit can be eaten with salt, chili powder, sugar, or shrimp paste. It can be used to make jams, jellies, and other fruit preserves.
  8. Unagi
    Unagi is freshwater eel and most often refers to Japanese eel. It is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. The eel can be skewered and grilled and served over steamed white rice. Unagi is also an ingredient in dishes like unagi don and sushi.
  9. Unleavened Bread
    Unleavened bread is a term used to describe a variety of breads that don’t use a rising agent like yeast. Although most unleavened bread is flatbread, not all flatbread is unleavened. Matzo, lavash, tortillas, roti, pita, and other breads all belong to the unleavened bread category. Certain religions, such as Judaism and Christianity, use unleavened bread during certain religious holidays and practices.
  10. Upma
    Upma is a dish that comes from the Indian subcontinent. This breakfast food is cooked as a thick porridge from dry-roasted semolina or course rice flour. The porridge is then mixed with a variety of ingredients, such as hot chilies. It is often eaten with peanut podi, coconut chutney, or even pickles. Upma is sometimes served with sugar and ghee on top to even out the spiciness of the hot chilies. 
  11. Upside-Down Cake
    Upside-down cake is cake that is baked “upside-down” in a single pan. The cake’s toppings sit in the bottom of the pan. When the cake is removed from the oven, it is flipped over and removed from the pan. Pineapple upside-down cake is one of the most commonly prepared upside-down cakes. It combines yellow cake mix, pineapple rings, maraschino cherries, and brown sugar.
  12. Urad Dal
    Urad dal is a kind of lentils used in the southern part of Asia. Also called split black gram, these lentils are easy to prepare and often appear in side dishes. Urad dal is also used in dosa, papad, and vada. This lentil has an earthy, nutty flavor that pairs well with other ingredients.
  13. Urap
    Urap is a salad dish that combines steamed vegetables with seasoned and spiced coconut. This Indonesian dish is consumed on its own as a vegetarian meal or served as a side dish. The vegetables used in urap are typically spinach, cassava leaf, papaya leaf, Chinese longbeans, bean sprouts, and cabbage. Ground shallot, garlic, red chili pepper, tamarind juice, and salt are added for flavor.
  14. Urchin
    Sea urchins are spiny, globular animals. There are about 950 species of sea urchin in the ocean. They have hard shells and soft flesh. Like oysters, sea urchins are thought to be an aphrodisiac. Sea urchins have a strong ocean smell and a briny taste. Their texture is thick, creamy, rich, and buttery, making them a delicacy in many world areas.
  15. Urgelia Cheese
    Urgelia cheese originated in Spain and is made from cow’s milk. This semi-firm cheese with an eyelet-dotted interior is a relatively tame member of the washed-rind family of cheeses. It has a slightly nutty, salty, and acidic flavor. Urgelia cheese is great for cheese boards or as a pairing for antipasto. Because these cheese melts well, it is also popular in sauces and sandwiches.
  16. Uszka
    Uszka are small dumplings filled with flavorful wild forest mushrooms and minced meat. While dumplings typically bring to mind Asian cuisine, these dumplings originated in Poland. These dumplings get their name from the Polish word for “little ears” because of their ear-like shape. They can be served with barszcz or eaten with melted butter and herbs. 
  17. Utthappam
    Utthappam is a dosa dish from South India. It combines a thick rice-based flatbread with a variety of toppings. This pizza-like dish can be topped with onions, tomatoes, chili peppers, and other vegetables. 
  18. Usal
    Usal is a dish made with legumes such as peas, lentils, black eyed beans, Matki, Moong, or Hyacinth beans. The beans are left to soak in water and allowed to sprout for a few days before preparing. This dish combines the partially-sprouted beans with curry and other seasonings. It can be served plain or with a coriander garnish.