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42 Foods That Start With U (With Pictures & Facts)

What are some foods that start with U? If you’re curious to know, I’ve rounded up some of the most delicious and exciting U dishes and ingredients.

This list of foods starting with U has both sweet flavors and savory options. From upside-down cake and ugli fruit to udon noodles and uttapam, there’s something for every taste and cuisine preference.

 If you’d like to know what food starts with U and learn a little about each dish, then read on!

Foods That Start With U featured image | Girl Meets Food

Let’s learn some surprising and common foods that start with U to eat and cook with!

The letter U has gifted us with a variety of flavorful dishes, starting off with one of my all-time favorite vegetarian-friendly soups!

Dishes that start with U


Udon in a white bowl | Girl Meets Food

Udon is a Japanese noodle dish produced with wheat flour, water, and salt. After kneading and rolling out the dough, you can cut thick, long strands which are then boiled in a pot of broth.

The broth used to make them is called kakejiru. It can be enhanced with several toppings like tempura, green onions, nori, and kamaboko.

I find udon noodles to be a real comfort food and order vegan udon often when dining out. If you like Japanese cuisine, this is one of the best lunch foods that start with U!


Ugali in two wooden bowls | Girl Meets Food

In East Africa, ugali is a staple food, notably in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The only two components are water and cornmeal (maize flour).

Stirring constantly, cornmeal is gradually added to hot water creating a thick consistency and plain taste which reminds of hard porridge or polenta.

Ugali is used to scoop up stews, curries, sukuma wiki (collard greens), and other saucy foods. It’s also a great way to add some carbs to your meals, which are in turn great for energy.

Ukrainian cabbage rolls

Ukrainian cabbage rolls holubtsi in a bowl and on a plate | Girl Meets Food

Ukrainian cuisine sounds like a great place to explore delicious foods that begin with U! So, why not try some tasty Ukrainian rolls?

Ukrainian cabbage rolls, called “holubtsi” or “golubtsi,” are wrapped in cooked cabbage leaves with minced beef, rice, onions, and spices.

These tender and delicious rolls are cooked in tomato sauce. Some people add a dab of tangy sour cream to enhance their taste.

Cabbage rolls are a great dish and a trademark of Ukrainian cuisine. I love the fact that they can be made vegan, for example with rice, mushrooms, and onions.

I’ve also had some delicious Ukrainian cabbage rolls stuffed with potatoes. They were so good, it’s like comfort food in a roll!

Ukrainian garlic pampushky

Ukrainian garlic pampushky on a parchment paper that is on a baking tray | Girl Meets Food

Garlic pampushky are excellent savory Ukrainian dinner rolls. They are a classic delicacy eaten with borshch, a traditional beetroot soup.

The pampushky dough is formed with flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and warm milk. After preparation, the dough is left to rise till doubled. After that, some little balls of dough are formed and placed on a baking sheet.

The garlic topping is produced by combining minced garlic with vegetable oil and occasionally adding herbs like parsley or dill for taste.

Ulava Charu

Ulava Charu, horse gram soup, is a South Indian Telugu dish. This food that starts with U is made with a small, oval-shaped, dark brown legume known as horse gram.

Ulava Charu is made by boiling horse gram in water with spices such as tamarind, garlic, red chili powder, and others. The outcome is rich, tangy soup.

This simple dish is eaten with rice or idli as a nourishing soup or broth. Horsegram’s high protein and fiber content contributes to the meal’s overall health benefits.


Unagi with rice in a brown bowl | Girl Meets Food

Grilled freshwater eel is called unagi in Japan. It’s usually served in unagiya restaurants as a topping on unadon or unagi-don.

Eel is usually grilled after being marinated in a sweet soy sauce. It creates a thick, delicious glaze.

Unagi is a great Japanese delicacy for boosting energy and stamina in the summer. If you’re looking for food places that start with U, unagiya restaurants offer a great dining experience.


A bowl of upma on an orange tablecloth. There are lemon wedges and 2 small bowls next to it | Girl Meets Food

 Are you interested in learning some breakfast food that starts with U? Upma is a wonderful option.

Semolina (sooji/rava) or coarse rice flour is used to make this traditional South Indian breakfast. It’s made by sautéing semolina or rice flour with onions, carrots, peas, and spices like mustard seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric.

After adding water, the grains are cooked until fluffy. Chutney, sambar, or yogurt can be served on the side to bring out the flavor of upma.


A plate with uthappam, a bowl of white sauce and some vegetables are on a table | Girl Meets Food

Uthappam is a thick pancake from South India. It’s prepared with fermented rice and black lentil (urad dal) batter.

Considering the nutritional value of urad dal, there’s no doubt that uthappam is one of the healthy foods that start with U.

The batter is cooked on a heated griddle or tawa. Before frying, onions, tomatoes, green chilies, and coriander leaves are added to the batter.

Sambar and coconut chutney accompany this Indian breakfast dish. This is one of the foods I crave whenever thinking of Indian cuisine.

If savory pancakes are your jam, check out these ideas for what to eat with pancakes for dinner!

Snacks that start with U

Unicorn popcorn

One of the best snacks that start with U I could come up with is unicorn popcorn. It’s exactly what you need to get more color into your life.

Unicorn popcorn has become a popular whimsical snack in recent years. It’s produced by covering popped popcorn with a sweet, colorful substance, usually melted white chocolate or candy melts.

The popcorn is then colored with food coloring, edible glitter, or sprinkles. It has sweet and salty aromas and is aesthetically beautiful.

I think it’s perfect for parties, movie nights, and gatherings. It looks so magical and can be dressed up with any flavor you want.


Urda, or Urda cheese, is a Balkan delicacy. Although often made with sheep’s milk, this mild, crumbly cheese can also be made with cow’s or goat’s milk.

Urda is typically used as a filling in traditional pastries or pies, sprinkled over salads, or spread on toast. It lends a creamy and tangy flavor to any dish and makes a great snack.

Urgelia cheese

Another type of cheese and food beginning with U is Urgelia. It’s a semi-soft Catalan cheese, which is aged for around two to four months. Its yellow-orange hue and creamy texture come from cow’s milk.

Urgelia cheese has a mellow, buttery, tangy, and nutty taste. It tastes like Tetilla and Garrotxa, two traditional Spanish cheeses. The cheese has a natural rind and a delicate inside that softens over time.

I think its creamy texture makes it ideal for melting, making it a wonderful topping for burgers and pizzas.

Spices and condiments that start with U

Ume plum vinegar

Ume plum vinegar, Umeboshi vinegar or Ume Su, is a popular Japanese condiment made from Umeboshi plum juice. The plums are typically pickled with salt and red shiso leaves, then pressed to extract the juice, which is then fermented.

Ume plum vinegar tastes sour, acidic, and somewhat salty. It’s used in many salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.


Someone is taking umeboshi from a plate using sticks | Girl Meets Food

Umeboshi are traditional Japanese pickled plums. They’re prepared by soaking ume, Japanese plums, in salt and drying them in the sun.

Sometimes umeboshi can be red in color if red shiso leaves are added while pickling. They have a salty, sweet, and sour taste.

The most common way to enjoy these pickled plums is served on a bed of rice or as a filling in onigiri.

Urfa pepper flakes

Urfa pepper, commonly known as Urfa biber or isot pepper, is a Turkish chili pepper. It’s eaten in the form of pepper flakes which have a smokey and somewhat spicy taste.

Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisines often employ Urfa pepper flakes, notable for their rich red color, as a condiment or garnish. They offer a deep, smokey flavor to stews, meat dishes, and salads.

Sweets starting with U

Ube Halaya

Ube Halaya bowl | Girl Meets Food

Ube halaya is a popular Filipino dessert offered on special occasions. It’s made from purple yam which is boiled and crushed, then cooked with condensed milk, butter, and sugar until thick and smooth.

Ube halaya tastes sweet, nutty, and earthy. It can be eaten alone, as a filling in hopia, or topped on ice cream.

Ube Puto

Ube Puto muffins | Girl Meets Food

Ube Puto, a Filipino delicacy, blends ube, a purple yam, with puto, a steamed rice cake. Ube is mashed and added to the puto batter to make it purple. The batter is then cooked until it rises and turns light and spongy.

Filipinos love ube puto as a snack or dessert. It can be served plain or with shredded coconut.

Ugly duckling cake

This dish is a rich and tasty cake covered with a sweet and creamy layer. Cake batter normally contains flour, eggs, sugar, butter, and flavorings like vanilla or chocolate.

Whipped cream, fruit, and occasionally almonds or coconut top the cake after baking. Despite its name, it’s a delightful treat which doesn’t look ugly at all.

Upside-down cake

Pineapple upside-down cake | Girl Meets Food

If you’re curious about fruit food that starts with U, the upside-down cake is a great way to display some seasonal fruits.

Sliced pineapple, peaches, or apples are placed at the bottom of the baking pan to make this cake. A layer of cake batter is baked over the fruit until brown and cooked through.

The fruit topping is revealed when the cake is inverted onto a dish. Caramelized fruit juices create a gooey and sticky glaze over the cake.

Umm Ali

Umm Ali pieces on a plate | Girl Meets Food

Umm Ali, the “Egyptian bread pudding,” is a typical Egyptian delicacy. It has layers of puff pastry or phyllo dough, nuts like almonds and pistachios, and raisins.

The components are steeped in milk, sugar, and fragrant scents like rose or orange blossom water. Then , it’s baked in the oven until golden and crispy.

Umm Ali is a pleasant and rich U food eaten warm during Egyptian festivals.

Popular drink that start with U


A glass of umeshu with ice cubes and one ume | Girl Meets Food

Unripe Japanese plums, called ume, are steeped in alcohol like shochu or sake with sugar to make umeshu, a classic Japanese liqueur.

The plums ferment in the alcohol, creating a sweet, tart, fruity liqueur.

As an aperitif or digestif, umeshu is generally served neat or on the rocks. It can also be blended with soda water or used as a mixing ingredient in cocktails.

Vegetables that start with U


Ube is a Southeast Asian tuberous root vegetable also known as purple yam or Dioscorea alata. The purple flesh and mildly sweet, nutty flavor are what attract people to this U veggie.

Ube is a kind of yam that stands out due to its distinctive purple root. The flesh is a gorgeous shade of violet.

Ube is versatile, serving as an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Ube is used in many Filipino desserts, such as the thick and sweet jam known as Ube Halaya, which I already mentioned here, as well as in ice cream, cake, and pastries.

Because of its naturally high sugar content and vibrant hue, it is frequently used as a decoration in confections. Ube a great source of energy and nutrients including carbohydrates and fiber.

Udupi Mattu Gulla

Originally from the Indian state of Karnataka, the Udupi Mattu Gulla eggplant is also known as brinjal or aubergine. Its cultural significance, unique flavor, and pleasant texture have made it highly sought after.

Eggplants of the Udupi Mattu Gulla kind can be either round or somewhat elongated. They have a glossy, green appearance.

It’s a great culinary component because of its mild sweetness and tinge of bitterness. The delicate flesh and low seed count of the eggplant make it a versatile ingredient.

Udupi Mattu Gulla is most commonly associated with the vegetarian cuisine of Udupi. Udupi chutney, palya, sambar, and gojju all benefit from its inclusion.

Udupi Mattu Gulla eggplants are called Solanum melongena var. esculentum in the plant kingdom.

Ukrainian Heart tomato

Close-up of two Ukrainian heart tomato halves | Girl Meets Food

The Ukrainian Heart tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a large, heart-shaped heirloom variety. Depending on its age, it can have pink or dark red skin.

The sweet and juicy tomato taste of Ukrainian Heart tomatoes can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. It’s ideal for slicing, grilling, and other culinary applications.


Ulluco vegetables | Girl Meets Food

Ulluco, or Ullucus tuberosus, is a root vegetable that originates in South America and belongs to the Basellaceae family. This vegetable has been produced for centuries in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador for its delicious tubers.

The edible tuberous roots are starchy and waxy, much like potatoes. After being cooked, they lose some of their somewhat acidic and sour flavor.

Even though ulluco isn’t as common as potatoes or carrots, people are starting to take notice of it because of its health benefits. Sugars, fiber, vitamins C and K, calcium, and iron are all in there.

The versatility of Ulluco is also fascinating. It’s a valuable cash crop in the Andes since it thrives under extreme conditions.

Ulster Emblem potato

Northern Ireland, and particularly Ulster, are major producers of Ulster Emblem potatoes.

These early maincrop cultivars range in size from medium to big. Their round or oval bodies are covered in smooth skin that can be anything from milky white to brilliant yellow. The meat is pale yellow and waxy in texture.

The smooth, buttery flavor of these potatoes makes them a popular ingredient. They retain their flavor and texture whether cooked, roasted, mashed, or used in salads.

Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Ulster Emblem is the scientific name for the Ulster Emblem potato.

Umatilla Russet potato

Umatilla Russet potatoes | Girl Meets Food

The Umatilla Russet potato is a famous American-grown kind of russet potato. Oregon’s Umatilla County inspired the name.

The potato itself is long and rectangular with tough, nettled skin and dry, starchy flesh.

Its high starch concentration makes baked or mashed potatoes light and airy, while its low moisture content provides for perfectly crisp French fries and chip treats.

This variety is known as Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Umatilla Russet.


Umibudo on a small grey plate | Girl Meets Food

Umibudo, or sea grapes, are a kind of seaweed commonly used in Japanese and Okinawan cooking. The Japanese word “umibudo” translates as “sea grapes” in English.

Umibudo seaweed grows in clumps of tiny green globes at the end of sturdy stalks. Since these orbs resemble grapes, they are commonly referred to as “sea grapes.”

Raw umibudo seaweed is commonly used as a garnish or addition to other dishes. It tastes like the sea, with a saline, salty aftertaste.

Because of its peculiar texture and flavor, it is considered a delicacy in the cuisines of many Asian nations, particularly Okinawa.

The scientific name for this algae is Caulerpa lentillifera.

Upland cress

Upland cress in a metal bowl | Girl Meets Food

Similar to watercress, upland cress (land cress) is a leafy green vegetable. Its fiery, harsh flavor complements a variety of dishes.

In contrast to watercress, upland cress thrives in hotter climates and requires less water.

Any dish, fresh or lightly cooked, benefits from the addition of upland cress. It can be used as a peppery addition to pestos and as a garnish for soups and stews.

Lepidium sativum is the scientific name for upland cress.

Upo squash

Upo squashes wrapped in paper | Girl Meets Food

Upo squash is also known as opo squash, bottle gourd, and calabash. The Filipinos use the term “upo” for this culinary veggie.

The name “bottle gourd” is derived from the shape of this particular variety of squash. It’s actually a meaty, seed-filled fruit with smooth, pale green or white skin used as a vegetable.

Upo squash is used in sour soups like sinigang, sautéed dishes like ginisang upo, and stir-fries and curries. It is a versatile flavoring agent and enhancer.

The mature gourd of an upo squash is useful for more than just eating. Some cultures use it after drying it to create implements, storage containers, musical instruments, and ornaments.

Lagenaria siceraria is its scientific moniker.

Urad dal

Urad beans | Girl Meets Food

Common names for the legume black gram include urad bean, urad dal, uzhunnu parippu, and ulundu paruppu. The Fabaceae family includes this member.

Tiny, black, and spotted, urad beans are an unusual food. They are a staple in Indian cooking, appearing in dishes like dal and curry.

When cooked, these beans take on a creamy, earthy flavor. They can be chopped, ground, or whole, depending on the recipe.

Dosa (fermented crepes) and vada (deep-fried fritters) can both be made with urad beans. Indian flatbreads and snacks are commonly made with urad bean flour.

Vigna mungo is the scientific name for urad bean.


Urui on a wicker plate | Girl Meets Food

Urui, or Hosta sieboldiana, is a perennial herbaceous plant whose leaves are highly prized for their beauty. It’s native to Japan and Korea in East Asia.

Urui, known as the “Giant Plantain Lily,” is renowned for its spectacularly large and attractive leaves. Because of the intricate veining and textured patterning, they are aesthetically pleasing.

Some Hosta species and cultivars are not edible. My advice is to always make sure a plant is safe to eat before consuming it.

Young, tender Hosta sieboldiana leaves are the only plant parts fit for human consumption. When steamed or parboiled, they take on a little bitter flavor.

Fruits that start with U


Ugli fruits on white background | Girl Meets Food

The ugli fruit is a cross between a grapefruit, a tangerine, and a Seville orange. It is also known as the Jamaican tangelo and the uniq fruit.

Rough and wrinkled, this citrus fruit’s skin can be anywhere from a yellowish green to an orange shade. The fruit is easy to peel and bigger than a grapefruit.

Many drinks, smoothies, desserts, and even savory sauces benefit from its unique flavor. The low levels of citric acidity in this variety make it a good substitute for grapefruit.

Being part of the citrus family, ugli is abundant in vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds believed to have positive impacts on your health.

The ugli fruit tree is also known by its scientific name, Citrus reticulata paradisi.


Chilean guavas, or Ugni molinae, are a kind of fruit-bearing shrub native to Chile and Argentina.

The ugni fruit is the size of a blueberry or a little grape, and it can be either round or oval.

Ugni berries are sweet similar to strawberries and sour like cranberries and kiwis. They’re a key ingredient in a wide variety of beverages, desserts, sauces, and condiments.


Umari fruit, or Poraqueiba sericea to give it its proper scientific name, is a tropical fruit native to the Amazon rainforest of South America. Its primary areas include Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador.

The average size of a Umari fruit is between 2 and 4 cm. Its skin is glossy and smooth and ranges in color from green or yellow when unripe to a dazzling orange or red when fully ripe.

This exotic fruit is very buttery in taste and texture. Some locals spread it on their bread like butter.


A brown bowl of umbu fruits is on a wooden surface | Girl Meets Food

Spondias tuberosa, sometimes called imbu, Brazil plum, and umbu, is a kind of tropical fruit native to Brazil. In northeastern Brazil, locals like it for its refreshing flavor and beneficial properties.

The Umbu fruit, which can be either round or oval, has a thin, smooth, green to yellow skin. Its flavor profile includes pineapple, mango, and a zing of citrus taste.

Umbu juice is used in several desserts, beverages, and ice creams. Spreading Umbu jams and jellies on toast is another popular way to enjoy this fruit.


Umbra (Spondias dulcis) is a fruiting tree native to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Ambarella, June plum, and golden apple are some of the alternative names for this fruit.

Umbra fruits, like little mangoes or apricots, are spherical in shape. The mature fruit has a velvety texture and a golden or yellow hue.

This U fruit has a flavor in between mango and pineapple with a hint of citrus. Salads, desserts, and chutneys all benefit from its inclusion. Young, immature fruit is pickled and used as a condiment in several cultures.


Ume fruits | Girl Meets Food

The ume fruit is also known as Japanese plum, Japanese apricot, and Chinese plum. The leaves of this tree, native to East Asia, are frequently used in traditional Japanese cuisine.

Ume is used to make the traditional condiment umeboshi, which has deep cultural significance in Japan. You can find more info about it in the snack section of this blog post.

Another common use of this fruit is in making Japanese liquor umeshu, also mentioned above.

Like plums, peaches, and cherries, this species belongs to the genus Prunus. Prunus mume is its official scientific name.

Usakhelauri grape

One of the best red wines comes from the unique Georgian grape variety Usakhelauri, which is a Vitis vinifera. Lechkhumi and Racha, both in western Georgia, are major production areas.

Usakhelauri grapes are little and dark, often bordering on black. Sweet and fragrant wines are the result of their complex taste profile and high sugar content.

Usakhelauri grapes are a challenging type to cultivate due to their poor yield. Grapes are generally plucked by hand with great care.

Uva Rara grape

A hanging bunch of uva rara grape | Girl Meets Food

Lombardy is home to the red grape variety Uva Rara, which is used to make Italian wine. The Italian word “Uva Rara” literally translates to “rare grape” since this grape variety is so uncommon.

Uva Rara is often used in blends with other varieties to provide complexity and body to red wines. Red berry, floral, and spicy aromas can all be found in these wines.

It’s also possible to make varietal wines from Uva Rara grapes. They include red fruit, herb, and earth flavors with medium body and low tannins.

Uva Rara is also known as Bonarda Novarese.

Uva Tosca grape

A hanging bunch of uva tosca grape | Girl Meets Food

Emilia-Romagna in central Italy is home to the red wine vine known as Uva Tosca. It was one of the few varieties of red wine grapes capable of reaching full maturity in the foothills of the Apennines.

Uvalino grape

The Uvalino grape is used to make red wine in the Piedmont region of Italy. Despite its lesser fame, it plays a role in the winemaking of Piedmont.

Uvalino has gained popularity in recent years for its potential health benefits because of the high levels of the antioxidant resveratrol it contains.


A plate of Uvilla fruits on a wooden surface | Girl Meets Food

A fruiting shrub called uvilla (Physalis peruviana) is native to Chile and Peru. It’s also known as “Peruvian groundcherry,” “Cape gooseberry,” and “golden berry.”

When ripe, uvilla looks like a small tomato with a yellowish green inside encased in a husk that resembles a paper lantern.

The fruit has a nice ratio of sweetness to acidity. You can eat it fresh or make juice, jam, jelly, or baked goods.

Foods That Start With U recipe | Girl Meets Food

42 Foods That Start With U (With Pictures & Facts)

Discover an array of unique and mouthwatering foods that start with U, from Ukrainian cabbage rolls to unexpected delicacies.


Dishes that start with U

  • Udon
  • Ugali
  • Ukrainian cabbage rolls
  • Ukrainian garlic pampushky
  • Ulava Charu
  • Unagi
  • Upma
  • Uthappam

Snacks that start with U

  • Unicorn popcorn
  • Urda
  • Urgelia cheese

Spices and condiments that start with U

  • Ume plum vinegar
  • Umeboshi
  • Urfa pepper flakes

Sweets starting with U

  • Ube Halaya
  • Ube Puto
  • Ugly duckling cake
  • Upside-down cake
  • Umm Ali

Popular drink that start with U

  • Umeshu

Vegetables that start with U

  • Ube
  • Udupi mattu gulla
  • Ukrainian Heart tomato
  • Ulluco
  • Ulster Emblem potato
  • Umatilla Russet potato
  • Umibudo
  • Upland cress
  • Upo squash
  • Urad bean
  • Urui

Fruits that start with U

  • Ugli
  • Ugni
  • Umari
  • Umbu
  • Umbra
  • Ume
  • Usakhelauri grape
  • Uva Rara grape
  • Uva Tosca grape
  • Uvalino grape
  • Uvilla

Which foods or drinks that start with U did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed foods beginning with U but would like to learn more about other types of food, check out my list of foods that start with R, fruits that start with R and delicious Q foods.

Also, I have a separate article on U vegetables and fruits beginning with U. Check them out to discover more health benefits and culinary uses!

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