On today’s culinary adventure, we’re diving headfirst into a world of dishes and all kinds of whole foods that start with “Y”!
From South America to Asia, Africa to Europe, we scoured the globe (with help from the Internet, of course) to bring you some of the most popular foods that begin with the letter Y.
So hold on to your tastebuds as we go through this deep dive, learning about all kinds of mouthwatering delights sure to make you go “Yum”!
80+ Amazing foods that start with Y
Let’s discover all the delicious whole foods, condiments, dishes, fruits and veggies starting with Y!
Whole foods and condiments that start with Y
A species of tuna found in the subtropical oceans, yellowfin tuna is a medium to large-sized type of fish with a mild taste and firm texture. It is typically used for sushi and hence, is super popular in Japanese restaurants.
Yellowfin tuna is often confused by many as being the Japanese Amberjack which is the yellowtail fish.
Yellowtail fish is a staple ingredient for sushi with a soft texture and mild flavor. It is usually fried, fried, pan-seared or even grilled to make all kinds of savory dishes like sashimi or sushi.
Made from many varieties of the popular dairy product, yogurt, yogurt cheese is a cheese-like substance prepared by draining whey from yogurt. It can be made easily at home and is usually eaten in sandwiches and over bagels.
Also known as the snow fungus, yin er is a type of fungus found in temperate regions worldwide. It has a bland flavor and acquires a gelatinous and crunchy texture when cooked.
Also known as tofu or bean curd skin, yuba is the skin that forms over the surface of boiling soy milk. It has a chewy, rubbery texture similar to mozzarella and a mild, nutty taste. It’s commonly used in Chinese as well as Japanese dishes.
Yufka is a kind of flatbread made from a thin piece of dough that’s been seared lightly in a pan.
It originated in Turkey and is usually used in the preparation of börek or stuffed with veggies and meat tossed in a creamy sauce made of Greek yogurt and other common ingredients to make shawarma.
Dishes that start with Y
A classic delicious dish popular in New Orleans in America, Yaka mein is a part of Asian cuisine made of noodles in a beef broth spiced with cajun and creole seasonings.
It is usually topped with all kinds of protein like eggs or seafood and other kinds of meat such as pork.
Yakgwa is a kind of traditional Korean confection made of wheat flour and served on special occasions. It’s deep fried and coated with a thick ginger honey syrup and is also commonly served alongside some tea.
Yakhni is a flavorful broth-based soup made with tender pieces of meat like chicken or lamb. It is also seasoned with warm spices like cinnamon and cumin as well as garlic, peppers, ginger and onions.
Yakhni can also be topped with slices of citrus fruit like lemon as well as herbs like bay leaves.
A Pakistani rice dish, yakhni pulao is a flavourful and fragrant dish made by cooking rice in a meat broth. It usually features a lot of Indian spices and is often served as lunch, dinner or at parties.
Yakisoba is a classic Japanese noodle dish that often includes meat and vegetables. It’s usually stir-fried and uses soba noodles made from wheat flour.
This delicious meal often includes Worcester, oyster and soy sauces with ketchup alongside some other spices and ingredients.
Translated as grilled chicken, yakitori is a dish from Japanese cuisine consisting of carefully arranged chicken cuts that are skewered then cooked on an open-fire grill.
It usually also includes bite-sized pieces of veggies alongside the chicken and a savory soy sauce as a dip.
Yaki Imo is a Japanese dish that involves baking a type of root vegetable till it’s tender and ready to be eaten.
The root vegetable is usually a kind of Japanese sweet potato with a purplish outer skin, yellow flesh and very sweet taste.
These Japanese grilled rice balls are a kind of snack, breakfast or picnic food made by grilling rice balls till the outside is crispy and golden brown.
The interior of the yaki onigiri will be fluffy and the exterior, smoky from the grilling and savory from the soy sauce.
This is a “corn on the cob” Japanese dish that involves grilling corn then coating it in a sweet savory sauce. The sauce is often made of soy sauce and is spread on the corn during the grilling process.
Yaki Udon is a kind of stir-fried dish originating from Japan that consists of udon noodles, loads of veggies, and protein all tossed in a savory sauce.
The protein is usually meat or fish but this dish can be made vegetarian and vegan-friendly by using mushrooms, tofu or tempeh as the protein.
You can also find udon on my list of exciting foods that start with U and learn more about this popular noodle dish.
Also known as yakbap in Korea, Yaksik is a kind of sweet and salty rice cake made with glutinous rice and honey as the sweetener.
It often includes a wide variety nuts as well as dried fruits and is often eaten as a sweet treat.
“Yalancı” means “fake” in Turkish, and this dish is the vegetarian version of the classic dolma.
Peppers or grape leaves are filled with a flavorful mixture of rice, spices, and herbs to make a healthy and flavorful appetizer.
Yalancı Kebap is a savory vegetarian dish made of grilled vegetables in a skewer. It is the plant-based version of skewered meat as the veggies are usually seasoned with all kinds of spices to make them tasty.
Yamarita is a popular Nigerian dish whose main component is yam. The starchy root vegetable is first boiled before being coated with eggs, flour, and spices before being deep fried and then served with a savoury or spicy sauce.
A unique kind of salad that features tasty strips of grilled beef, yam nuea is a Thai dish that’s also known as Thai Beef Salad.
The meat is then tossed alongside freshly chopped vegetables and herbs in a sweet, savory and tart sauce.
Yam porridge is a popular Nigerian dish made by boiling yam in a flavourful broth till it absorbs all the flavors and is tender. It is usually seasoned with a variety of spices and usually includes meat, fish and a herb.
From Azerbaijan comes yarpaq dolmasi, a dish that consists of grape leaves stuffed with a flavorful mixture of rice, herbs, and spices, creating a popular mouthwatering delicacy.
Yassa is a Senegalese dish consisting of marinated meat like chicken or fish and caramelized onions with lemon juice sprinkled over to give it zest. It’s usually served over some rice or pilaf for a savory and satisfying meal.
Yassa poison is a seafood dish that originated from Senegal and Gambia. It is made of fish that’s been adequately marinated before being cooked either by grilling, frying or baking in an oniony lemon sauce.
This is a kind of Turkish savory pastry that’s made of phyllo dough stuffed with a tasty filling. The filling usually includes cooked ground meat and the pastry is usually baked till golden brown before being served on its own or with something on the side.
This is a creamy Turkish yogurt soup with a smooth texture made from plain yogurt, rice and often chickpeas as well as spices and herbs to make it savory. It’s a comforting soup that’s usually served hot.
Yebeg Tibs is an Ethiopian dish consisting of injera, a kind of sour fermented flatbread made of teff flour, that has been stuffed with of pieces of lamb sauteed in butter alongside spices and other ingredients.
Generally, less spicy than other curries, yellow curry is a dish that’s an explosion of flavors. It usually contains spices like ginger, turmeric, onions, garlic, cinnamon and many herbs like lemongrass and bay leaves.
Milk is usually added to give it a creamy texture and it is usually served with a side of rice or naan bread.
Yerba mate is a herbal tea that originated from South America served either hot or cold. It’s the national drink of Paraguay and has decent amounts of caffeine.
Yerba mate tea is rich in antioxidants as well as many nutrients and has become popular in many places around the globe.
Another kind of confectionary from East Asia we have on this list of foods that begin with “Y” is yeot. It is made of different kinds of rice, sorghum, sweet potatoes, corn or a mix of grains.
Yeot can be made into a syrup or a solid and it’s served as a snack.
Yibin Ran Mian
Yibin Ran Main is a noodle dish from China’s Sichuan province. Ran Mian literally translates to “flaming/burning noodle” although the noodles are chewy and savory in taste despite the name.
Despite its name, Yorkshire pudding is vastly different from conventional puddings. It’s a baked pudding that’s usually crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, made of flour, eggs, water or milk and occasionally, vegetable oil.
Youtazi is a kind of deep-fried pastry that consists of many layers. It is usually stuffed with seasoned, tasty shredded lamb or beef and is served as a snack or light lunch.
A traditional Chinese breakfast, youtiao is a kind of pastry with a crisp, golden brown and puffy exterior thanks to the leavening agent used. In contrast, it’s soft and fluffy on the inside.
It is made of wheat flour dough that has been deep fried and it is usually served with congee, a dip or stuffed with a meaty, savory filling.
Yuba noodles are a kind of noodle made from the creamy skin that forms over the surface of soy milk as it’s heated to form bean curds.
It has a nutty flavor and is a popular gluten-free alternative to pasta used for a variety of dishes, especially in Japan.
Yuba rolls are a kind of dish made from bean curd skin (yuba) that has been stuffed with vegetables and deep-fried till golden brown. Yuba rolls can either be eaten for breakfast or as a snack.
Yuba salad is made of thin strips of tofu skin alongside greens and a choice of protein. It also includes veggies like carrots, broccoli or cauliflower, fruits like cucumbers, tasty additional ingredients like soy sauce and black vinegar.
Rice is sweetened and vinegared before being stuffed in marinated tofu skin, somewhat like sushi. It’s popular in Korea as a picnic food.
Also known as cassava cake, Yuca cake is a Filipino dessert made of the grated or mashed starchy vegetable, cassava, with condensed, evaporated and coconut milk. It is a moist and gluten-free cake that is often topped with some custard.
Usually either baked in an oven or fried in hot oil, yuca fries are a dish common in regions of Latin America made by chopping up the cassava tuber into strips and then cooking them until crisp.
The outer brown skin of the cassava is usually peeled off to reveal its white flesh before the root vegetable is prepared by seasoning or breading and then baked or fried.
Yum pla duk foo
Also spelled as “yam pla dook foo”, this traditional Thai dish is made from shredded deep fried catfish and julienned green mangoes.
It is also prepared with other kinds of fish and utilizes sour mangoes (regardless of color) instead of mangoes with a sweet flavor to make a salad that’s eaten alongside the fish.
Yum woon sen
Also known as Thai glass noodle salad, yum woon sen is a popular Thai dish consisting of glass noodles, veggies and protein like seafood or small cuts of meat all tossed in a savory or sour sauce.
It’s usually served for lunch or dinner.
Often served as an appetizer, Yusheng is a kind of raw fish salad. Strips of the fish and a medley of shredded veggies are tossed in a variety of sauces and other ingredients.
It is usually eaten during the Chinese New Year celebrations and can be served with a dipping sauce.
Yuvalama is a kind of local Turkish soup made during occasions like festivals, weddings and even funerals. It is usually made with yogurt but it can also be prepared with tomato paste.
Yuvalama also includes meat like beef or lamb as well as chickpeas and rice flour.
Yu Xiang Qie Zi
Yu Xiang Qie Zi is a Chinese dish that translates to fish-fragrant eggplant. It is a spicy dish made of Chinese eggplants prepared in such a way that it smells and tastes like fish.
The eggplants are usually prepared in a stir fry with a savory and tasty sweet sauce.
Fruits that start with Y
Also known as jabuticaba, these are berries with tough, dark purple-colored pulpy skin with a sweet, sharp-tasting interior.
Yabuticaba grows directly on the trunk of the tree and is also called the Brazilian grape tree as it is native to the southeastern region of the country.
They are used to make jams and alcoholic beverages and have the scientific name Plinia cauliflora.
Yali pears, also known as Chinese pears, are teardrop-shaped fruits with crisp, aromatic skin that are native to some countries in East Asia.
They have a sweet flavor and delicate texture which make them ideal for snacking and as a great addition to salads.
Botanically, this variety of Asian pear is known as Pyrus pyrifolia and is the most commercially cultivated pear in China.
Popularly known as the Chinese white pear, the ya pear is a crisp, uniquely shaped pear with pale skin.
The ya pear is much rounder than European pears with a texture that’s more like an apple’s and a taste that’s sweet with floral notes.
The scientific name of this fruit is Pyrus × bretschneideri and is a good source of vitamins.
Yangmei fruit is a small fruit with a sweet but sour taste and a rough surface that has many tiny lumps. It is also known as yumberry and the Chinese Bayberry.
The color of the yangmei fruit varies from bright red to dark purple and its juicy flesh is rich in antioxidants.
Yangmei is a popular fruit in China and is often enjoyed fresh or made into jams and wines. It has the scientific name Morella rubra.
Also known as the Chinese gooseberry, Yang Tao is a small round fruit the size of a chicken egg with a sweet flavor.
It’s quite popular in some Asian countries like China and is often enjoyed fresh or used to make all kinds of sweet beverages.
Yangtao as it’s often spelled, is also known scientifically as Actinidia chinensis.
The Yemenite citron is a species of citrus fruit that looks a lot like a large lemon with a pointy nose on the exterior but has very little to no juice vesicles inside.
It is one of the largest varieties of citron and its candied peel has many uses in the food industry.
This variety of lemon from Australia is small and greenish-yellow with a refreshing lemony, tangy taste.
It is known for being more cold-tolerant than many other varieties of lemon and is regarded as a true lemon, hence has a more sour taste than other species.
The Yen Ben lemon is perfect for adding zest to your culinary creations and can be grown in home gardens. Yen ben has the scientific name Citrus x limon ‘Yen Ben’.
Yellow bell pepper
Although they are of immense culinary value, peppers are actually botanically classified as fruits and bell peppers are large colorful fruits with a firm texture.
Yellow bell peppers are sweet, juicy, fruits with yellow flesh and crunchy taste. They make fantastic additions to salads, stir fries and all other kinds of savory dishes.
Bell peppers are members of the Capsicum genus of flowering plants.
While most elderberries are dark purple, the Yellow Elderberry stands out with its orangish yellow hue.
Like other elderberries, they’re regarded as drupes and they have a slightly sweet to slightly bitter taste depending on the fruit and some other conditions.
Sambucus australasica is the scientific name of this fruit.
Yellow grapes are an umbrella term for certain species of grapefruits that have a yellowish hue. The most known varieties of yellow grapes are the Dominga, yellow muscat and the centennial.
They are just as small, glossy and thin-skinned as other grapes and are pressed to make wines as well as all other different kinds of non-alcoholic beverages.
The scientific name of the common grape vine is Vitis vinifera.
A highly nutritional fruit, the yellow mombin is a small fruit with leathery skin that has a yellow color and is Native to the Americas.
Its pulp is thin and has a sweet but tart taste and can be eaten fresh or used to make all kinds of jams and beverages. The scientific name of this fruit is Spondias mombin.
Yellow passion fruit
Also known as the golden passion fruit and sweet granadilla, this tropical delight is an edible fruit that can be eaten either raw or cooked into jams and all kinds of savory dishes.
It has a firm yellow skin that’s often tinged with greenish spots and its gelatinous sweet but sharp-tasting pulp is packed with vitamins. The yellow passion fruit has the scientific name Passiflora edulis flavicarpa.
Also called Yellow Dragon Fruit or yellow pitaya, this vibrant fruit is visually stunning with its bright yellow skin and white flesh dotted with black seeds.
Its taste is subtly sweet, making it a delightful choice for fruit salads and smoothies. The scientific name of this fruit is Selenicereus megalanthus.
Extremely sweet with a high sugar content when ripe, the yellow plums are a variety of stone fruit with a yellow to yellowish green hue.
They are also known as mirabelle plums and are used to make all kinds of pastries like cakes and galettes and sweet treats like sorbets and jams.
Mirabelle plums have the scientific name Prunus domestica subsp. syriaca.
Popularly known as canistel, the yellow sapote is a tropical fruit with dry flesh and skin that’s easy to peel away once it’s ripe. The canistel is also called the egg fruit because of its bright color that resembles that of an egg yolk.
It has many health benefits and is known scientifically as Pouteria campechiana. It’s often enjoyed fresh or used to make smoothies and desserts.
The Yellow Wonder Alpine strawberries are much smaller brightly cream to yellow colored cousins of the regular strawberry.
Their taste and fragrance are regarded as superior to the popular red variety and they can grow in a wider range of climates.
Yellow wonder alpine strawberries are known as Fragaria vesca ‘Alpine Yellow’ scientifically.
The yellow watermelon is a sweet and juicy variant of the common watermelon fruit with pinkish-red flesh. Its sweet flesh has a taste similar to that of honey with subtle notes of apricot.
This type of watermelon is also favored because of its flesh which has a vibrant golden hue that looks just as fantastic as it tastes. The scientific name of this fruit is Citrullus lanatus.
York Imperial apples
Known for its strange shape, this type of fruit was developed sometime in the 1800s and has a crisp texture with a sugary-tart flavor.
The york imperial apple is also medium to large in size and becomes sweeter in storage, making it ideal for all kinds of baked goods. They have the scientific name Malus pumila ‘York Imperial’.
The youngberry fruit is a cross of the blackberry, raspberry and dewberry. It’s a small, juicy, shiny dark-colored hybrid fruit with a taste that’s similar to the boysenberry and loganberry.
Youngberries are botanically classified as Rubus ‘Youngberry’ and are regarded as a variety of blackberry.
They can be eaten fresh or made into jams, used in pies and as garnishes for many kinds of desserts and sweet treats.
Yunnan hackberry fruit
Native to the Yunnan province of China, the Yunnan hackberry fruit is a small fruit that turns dark purple when it’s ripe. It has a taste that’s very similar to cranberries and is used to make treats.
They look like little cherries or grapes but they have an extremely sweet taste, juicy but crunchy flesh and are often compared to dates. The Yunnan hackberry is known as the Celtis occidentalis scientifically.
One of the most common Japanese citrus fruits, yuzu is a tangy fruit that hails from East Asia.
It has a unique flavor profile as it’s tart like many other kinds of citrus, but is also slightly bitter like the grapefruit, as sweet as mandarin oranges and sour as lemons with hints of tangerine and lime.
Yuzu fruit is used for making Asian vinegar as well as seasonings and all kinds of sauces and desserts. Yuzu has the scientific name Citrus junos.
Vegetables that start with Y
Known for its sweet, juicy but crisp root, the yacon is a plant native to South America. It can be chopped or grated and served raw in salads, cooked, or even pickled.
The scientific name of yacon is Smallanthus sonchifolius.
Native to Africa, the Americas and some regions in Asia, the yam is a perennial starchy vegetable with brown skin that’s categorized as a tuber.
Their flesh is usually white and dry and they have a neutral, somewhat sweet taste.
Yams can be boiled, fried, mashed into a mass and even roasted to create a variety of dishes. They are an excellent source of carbohydrates and have the scientific name Dioscorea alata.
More popularly known as Jicama, the yam beam is a root vegetable with brown outer skin and white flesh with a crisp but juicy texture. It’s amongst the category of edible tubers that can be eaten both raw or cooked
Yam beans have the botanical name Pachyrhizus erosus and are native to South America as well as Mexico.
Native to the western region of North America, Yampahs are a species of flowering plant that share a lot of similarities to carrots. They’re found in the wild and are valued for their delicious roots and edible leaves.
Tastewise, yampahs have been described as having a sweet flavor with nutty undertones. Known scientifically as Periderdia, yampahs are usually boiled, steamed, sauteed or even fried to create all kinds of meals.
Also known as Chinese long beans and asparagus beans, these long and slender legumes are crispy and flavorful. Their pods are actually just about half a yard long, despite their name, and are used in just about the same ways green beans are.
Yardlong beans can be eaten either fresh or cooked and are best when harvested young. Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis is the botanical name for this legume.
Yarrow is a flowering plant and one of the lesser-known veggies in the list of vegetables that begin with Y. It has many medicinal properties and is also valued for its culinary properties.
Yarrow has the botanical name Achillea millefolium and its leaves as well as flowers can be used in soups and stews.
Yautia is a veggie that’s classified as a tuber and is a variety of cocoyam, valued for its root tuber. Its origins can be traced to South America but today, it’s grown in the Caribbean, and some tropical regions in Africa and Asia.
Botanically, Yautia is known as Xanthosoma sagittifolium and can be fried, boiled and cooked in many ways the other varieties of root tubers can.
Also known as golden beets, yellow beets are a milder, sweeter-tasting variety of the regular beetroot. It also doesn’t “bleed” like the purple variety does and has juicy but crunchy flesh.
There are many varieties of yellow beetroots; most are usually roasted and included in all kinds of salads. Yellow beetroots have the scientific name Beta vulgaris.
Yellow eye beans
The yellow eye bean is a heirloom that’s valued for its quality as a baked bean. It’s ivory in color with a yellowish-brown splotch on one of its sides and the scientific name Phaseolus vulgaris.
Yellow eye beans have a mild flavor hence, pair well with all kinds of ingredients in savoury dishes.
One of the most popular varieties of onions in the US, yellow onions are a species of onions with a pale, yellowish or white inside with a somewhat golden brown papery husk.
They have a pungent flavor when raw and are often sauteed before being used for all kinds of savory dishes. Yellow onions have the scientific name Allium cepa L.
Yellow squashes are basically immature squashes that aren’t ready for harvest. They’re summer squashes that have tender rinds and a tender flavor that lends itself well to cooked dishes.
It can also be eaten raw and is of many varieties all having the scientific name Cucurbita.
Yellow tomatoes are varieties of tomatoes that are yellow or gold in color. They range in many shapes from those that resemble golf balls to pears and others that have an oblong shape.
Yellow tomatoes are usually sweeter than red varieties with a much juicier texture, making them perfect for salads, sauces, and salsas. Solanum lycopersicum is the scientific name of this culinary vegetable.
Yellow wax beans
Almost identical to their green-colored counterparts, the yellow wax bean is an umbrella term given to a wide range of wax bean varieties that are colored a shade of yellow. They are usually mild in flavor with nutty notes.
Yellow wax beans are cooked in all the ways some other varieties of beans can and are members of the Fabaceae family, like some other legumes are.
Yokohama velvet bean
The Yokohama velvet bean is an exotic legume that grows annually in the tropical regions of both Africa and Asia.
It is botanically classified as Mucuna pruriens and is often used for medicinal purposes with its powder being described as tasting bitter and somewhat similar to that of coffee beans.
More popularly known as cassava, yuca is the root of the plant, originating from South America. It can be boiled, fried, roasted, or even baked to create all kinds of savory foods.
One of the most popular uses of yuca is its flour, Garri, which is widely consumed in many regions in Africa. The scientific name of the versatile vegetable is Manihot esculenta.
Yucca cactus buds
Rich in carbohydrates and dietary fiber, yucca cactus buds are small in size and green in color with white flesh. They are the immature fruits of the yucca plant which is native to the southwestern regions of the United States.
They have somewhat of a bright and mild flavor with a slightly nutty taste and can be dried and ground to make flour. These buds grow from the plant botanically classified as Hesperoyucca whipplei.
Yu choy sum
A member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, yu choy sum is a leafy vegetable with a crunchy texture, fresh and green taste similar to baby spinach. It is popular in Chinese cuisine where it’s used in stir fries and as a side dish.
The botanical name of this vegetable is Brassica chinensis var. parachinensis and is also known as the Chinese flowering cabbage.
Whew, what a whirlwind of flavors and cultures! From yams to yerba mate and yuba to Yorkshire pudding, these 80+ dishes, condiments, and whole foods that start with “Y” have taken us on a gastronomic adventure like no other.
So next time you’re in the mood to explore the world through your taste buds, don’t forget to give these “Y”-inspired delights a try.
80+ Foods That Start With Y From All Over The Globe
Whole foods and condiments that start with Y
- Yellowfin tuna
- Yellowtail fish
- Yogurt cheese
- Yin er
Dishes that start with Y
- Yaka mein
- Yakhni pulao
- Yaki Imo
- Yaki onigiri
- Yaki Tomorokoshi
- Yaki Udon
- Yalancı dolma
- Yalancı Kebap
- Yam nuea
- Yam porridge
- Yarpaq dolmasi
- Yassa poisson
- Yayla Böreği
- Yayla Çorbası
- Yebeg Tibs
- Yellow curry
- Yerba mate
- Yibin Ran Mian
- Yorkshire pudding
- Yuba noodles
- Yuba rolls
- Yuba salad
- Yuca cake
- Yuca fries
- Yum pla duk foo
- Yum woon sen
- Yu Xiang Qie Zi
Fruits that start with Y
- Yali pear
- Ya pear
- Yangmei fruit
- Yang Tao
- Yemenite citron
- Yen Ben
- Yellow bell pepper
- Yellow elderberry
- Yellow grapes
- Yellow mombin
- Yellow passion fruit
- Yellow pitahaya
- Yellow plum
- Yellow sapote
- Yellow strawberry
- Yellow watermelon
- York Imperial apples
- Youngberry fruit
- Yunnan hackberry fruit
- Yuzu fruit
Vegetables that start with Y
- Yam bean
- Yardlong bean
- Yellow beets
- Yellow bell pepper
- Yellow eye beans
- Yellow onions
- Yellow squash
- Yellow tomato
- Yellow wax beans
- Yokohama velvet bean
- Yucca cactus buds
- Yu choy sum
- Yukon Gold potato