There are all different types of food out there, soul food, comfort food, spicy food, fast food, and the list goes on. There are also plenty of cool foods that start with the letter U.
What comes to mind when you think of the letter U and food? Probably the first and perhaps only thing that pops up is upside down cake.
But there are tons of other treats out there, all beginning with U, such as udon, urad dal, ustipci, and more. So, without further ado, here are 51 wonderous foods all starting with the letter U.
51 Foods That Start With U
On this list are foods from Asia, Africa, South America, the United States, and many more. With all kinds of origins, there is sure to be something new and exciting that fits your pallet.
Known by various regional names such as Cilean guava, New Zealand cranberry or strawberry myrtle, Ugni fruit is a small red, white, or purple berry. While not an overly popular fruit in terms of cultivation, ugni is used to make jam and murta con membrillo, a cake dessert.
Ugli fruit, also known as Uniq(ue) fruit, is a Jamaican citrus fruit that is a cross between an orange or tangerine and a grapefruit (Pomelo). The Ugli fruit is tartly sweet, just like it’s ancestor fruits, and goes great in a pie.
Native to Africa, Ububese fruit is called “custard-apple (fruit)” in English. This golden heart-shaped fruit is, as the English name suggests, very sweet and custard-like in both texture and flavor.
Umbrella fruit is native to the United States, finding its home in the Appalachian Mountains, the Ozarks, and the Ouchita Mountains. This fruit is sour, egg shaped, and comes in either yellow or green.
Also known as the Brazil plum, the Umbu fruit grows to a variety of sizes, the largest being around the size of a lemon. They are typically a vibrant green or yellow and, unlike plums, are a sour fruit. Umbu juice is popular and the pulp is delectable when mixed with milk and sugar.
Urava fruit, or mongrove apples, are very interesting in appearance, extremely small with a pointed hat on top and tails at the bottom. They are typically eaten raw or cooked like a vegetable.
Usuma is a native Peruvian or Ecuadorian berry that looks like a webbed cherry tomato. Its taste is oddly reminiscent of peanut butter, earning them the nickname “peanut butter fruit” in English.
Udon is a thick, wheat flour noodle from Japan. It’s used in a variety of different foods and can be eaten either warm, typically in a flavorful soy-based soup-like broth, or cold, usually served with chicken and/or vegetables.
Undhiyu is a mixed vegetable curry that is a specialty from Gujarat India. The dish is typically cooked upside down in an earthen pot, which is where it gets its name. While it uses a lot of spice, the dish has a mild sweetness.
Urfa biber is a type of pepper flake originating from Turkey. Urfa is used in a variety of foods or as a topping/condiment. It has a smoky flavor in addition to the spice and ends with a slight sweetness.
Uttapam is a type of dosa (rice pancake) from South India. It is thicker than typical dosa, which is thin and crepe-like, and is usually eaten with toppings, typically onions, tomatoes, and coconut.
Ugali is a porridge-like maize flour dish from Africa. Similar to cornmeal in taste and texture, Ugali is typically served with a sauce or a stew of vegetables and/or meat.
Upma is an Indian porridge dish made from dry-roasted semolina or coarse rice flour. Upma is primarily eaten for breakfast and is part of vegetarian cuisine.
Unni appam is a sweet, fried snack from India that is a cross between a rice cake and a fritter. There are several variations, but most are made using rice, jaggery, banana, roasted coconut pieces or coconut oil, roasted sesame seeds, and cardamom powder.
Ube is a type of purple yam originating from the Philippines. It’s similar to sweet potato, but with undertones of vanilla and nuts. Due to the unique flavor, it’s commonly used in cakes and other desserts.
Originally believed to originate from Romania, Urda is a whey cheese now commonly produced in the Balkans. Urda is made using the whey of sheep, goat, or cow milk and is known for being silky and palatable.
Umbuzada is a smoothie-like drink from the northeast region of Brazil. It’s made with sugar, milk, and the Brazilian plum (Umbu fruit). The beverage is a nice combination of sweet, from the milk and sugar, and tart, from the plum.
Urad dal is a type of lentil bean that is most commonly used in Indian spicy lentil soup. Urad dal has many health benefits, including boosting energy, improved digestion and bone health, and a strengthening your nervous system.
Ulluco is a type of potato native to the Andes. Ulluco potatoes are very colorful, ranging from white to yellow, orange, red, green, and purple. Used in a variety of dishes, this potato is even part of Spanish cuisine, though it is spelled “olluco” instead.
Upside-down cake is simply a cake that is baked in a pan with the toppings on the bottom. There are a variety of upside-down cakes, but the most common is probably pineapple upside-down cake, which uses pineapples and cherries.
Sea urchins are part of seafood cuisine. Only the gonads are edible, which we try not to think about. Sea urchins are creamy and custardy during early stages of the season, which is when they are mostly eaten.
Sea urchins are traditionally a Japanese delicacy and, in Japan, are called Uni. Typically, Uni is cooked, fried, or eaten raw in sushi. It is briny in flavor and considered to be an aphrodisiac, like oyster.
Umeboshi is a type of Japanese pickled plum. They are typically served as a side dish and are quite sour and salty, though there are sweeter versions. There are also many other ways to prepare and eat the Ume plum, aside from Umeboshi.
Umbricelli pasta is a type of hand-rolled pasta that originates from Siena. Ingredients are typically determined by family tradition, so there is a lot of variety and pinning down one recipe is difficult.
Ui boov is a type of Mongolian cake usually made with sheep fat. It consists of multiple layers of fried cake, decorated with chunks of sugar, wrapped candies, and aarul (sweet, hard cheese). Fun fact, the number of layers were traditionally used to represent the status of one’s family.
Ugnspannkaka, or “oven pancake” is a delicious and savory Swedish dish, traditionally eaten for or with dinner. Made with batter and bacon, the dish is extremely fluffy and flavorful.
Unagi is the Japanese word for freshwater eel. It is a very popular ingredient in many dishes, particularly in sushi or grilled on a skewer. Unagi are poisonous unless cooked correctly, so are prepared only by specifically trained chefs, making it quite the delicacy.
Ukpaka is a fermented African oil bean popular in Igbos cuisine (also Southeast Nigerian). Due to its robust flavor, Ukpaka is somewhat expensive and valued as an ingredient. Though it is typically used as an ingredient, it can also be cooked and eaten alone.
Uziza is a leaf and meat soup from Southeastern Nigeria. It is made with uziza leaves, various spices and garnished with meat or fish. Uziza leaves are glossy and have a spicy flavor and smell similar to pepper.
Popularly known as “humble pie,” umble pie is a type of meat pie or pastry originating from the medieval period. Typically, the meat used in an umble pie is organ meat, such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs.
Also known as “raw-milk cheese,” unpasteurized cheese is made from milk that hasn’t been pasteurized, a process that destroys any disease-causing microorganisms. Typical unpasteurized cheeses are Brie, feta, goat, and queso fresco, to name a handful.
Ukrainian rolls, also known as pampushki, are soft, fluffy dinner rolls topped with garlic and herbs. They are typically served with dishes like borsch and are a great companion for soups.
U-No bars are very similar to 3 Musketeers. The candy bar has a satisfying truffle and almond bit center that is coated with a thin layer of hard chocolate.
Uunijuusto is a Finish desert made from unpasteurized colostrum milk (the first milk of a calf). It’s made by adding salt and baking the milk in the oven.
Utap is an oval-shaped puff pastry from the Philippines that is especially popular in Cebu. It’s made with flour, shortening, coconut and sugar. Utap is similar to French Palmier cookies, just a bit thinner and fluffier.
Urnebes is a type of Serbian salad prominent in southern Serbia. It’s made with white cheese, hot chili peppers, salt, and other spices, to taste. The dish is quite spicy, but without taking away from the other flavors.
Urap is a type of Indonesian salad, more specifically Javanese. It consists of steamed vegetables mixed with local seasonings and topped with grated coconut as a dressing. For meat-eaters urap is a healthy side-dish, but for vegetarians it’s the perfect main course.
Uiro is a type of Japanese steamed cake made of rice flour and sugar. It’s very similar to mochi, sharing the chewiness and subtle sweetness. Common flavors are azuki bean paste, matcha/green tea, yuzu, strawberry, and chestnut.
Ukwa is a type of African breadfruit, but the name typically refers to a traditional dish with breadfruit as a main ingredient. Ukwa is an Igbo soup, similar to porridge in consistency, made with the breadfruit, dry fish, stockfish, potash, palm oil, pepper, and okiri.
Uighur Lamb Skewers
Uighur (Uyghur) Lamb Skewers are a type of kebab from Xinjiang China. One of the most popular dishes in the region, it’s served everywhere. The kebab is made using lamb meat, fat, cumin, spice, and salt. The skewers are known for their smokey and juicy flavor.
Ustipci are doughnut-like fried dough balls popular in the Balkans. Typically served warm with cheeses, Ustipci are crispy, greasy, sweet, and savory snacks. There are a wide variety of styles of ustipci; some are meant to eat with soup or meat and others are topped with powdered sugar.
Uszka are small, Polish dumplings filled with wild forest mushrooms or minced meat. They are usually served with borscht or melted butter with herbs. They often are referred as “little ears” dumplings due to their shape and are considered a main staple of Poland cuisine.
Ukha is one of the healthiest Russian fish soups. Don’t let the clear broth fool you, this dish is plenty flavorful. To compliment the fish is a variety of vegetables, potatoes, tarragon, and other spices.
Usban is a traditional sausage from Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. It is stuffed with a mixture of rice, herbs, lamb, and chopped liver and heart. It is typically served during special occasions and eaten alongside rice or couscous.
Ukrainian Heart is a large, pink heart-shaped tomato with a creamy, dense, and meaty texture. They have few seeds, making them ideal for slicing and perfect for a variety of dishes. Ukrainian Heart has a very subtle flavor that is a nice mix of acidic tartness and sweetness.
Utazi is a type of African, specifically Nigerian, vegetable leaf. It is used as a popular spice in a variety of dishes, but also shares a name with a popular soup. Utazi soup is made with utazi leaves, pounded cocoyam, palm oil, crayfish, okporoko (stockfish), and other meats or fish.
Ubriaco, also known as “Drunk Cheese,” comes from Treviso, a town in Northern Italy. The cheese is traditionally made from aged cow’s milk soaked in barrels of local wine. Since becoming popularized, ubriaco has given birth to a variety of other alcohol-marinated cheeses.
Umngqusho is an African (Bantu) dish made from samp (dried corn kernels). It is typically cooked with sugar beans, butter, unions, potatoes, chilies, and lemons. Umngqusho is a cultural staple and considered to be a comfort food.
Umi-Budo, also known as see grapes, are a type of green algae. This type of seaweed is favored in areas such as Japan and considered a delicacy for the soft texture and unique burst of flavor. It supposedly tastes like the sea.
Usal (Oosal) is a Maharastrian curry dish known for it’s bold and spicy flavors. Usal is made in a variety of different ways, but key ingredients are sprouted beans, traditionally Matki, Moong, or Hyacinth beans, peas, lentils, and black-eyed beans. The dish is usually served with bread and/or rice.
Utah scones are made from puffy, deep-fried dough and are often topped with powdered sugar. The recipe is inspired by Native American pastries and pairs well with a variety of other flavors, such as buttermilk, chocolate, and fruit.
I hope you were able to find at least one new treat on this list of foods starting with U, and next time there will be plenty to list, like Ukrainian rolls, utazi, umble pie, and whatever else stood out to your tastebuds. So now it’s time to go out to the grocery store, grab that cooking gear, or find a restaurant near you and give some of these a try.