The vibrant and royal hues of ube has been one of the more recognizable hallmarks of Filipino cuisine. Ube, which is also referred to as purple yam, can be enjoyed in many dessert forms, with ube halaya, a boiled and mashed version of it, serving as the base.
One pop-up business, OohBae Cafe, out of Aliso Viejo, California, is serving up some of the most unique and delicious applications of ube, whether it be in ube cheese pandesal bread rolls, ube mango sticky rice, and ube silvanas, which are Filipino cashew merengue cookies layered with buttercream and cookie crumbs.
For owners Marie and Dale, OohBae Cafe was borne out of the now common pandemic pivot, where like many other individuals, the married couple found inspiration in other avenues, namely the kitchen.
“My husband and I both grew up in the Philippines, him and his family made ube halaya and sold it to make a living during the holidays. Luckily my husband was able to replicate the recipe with the help of my mother-in-law,” shared Marie.
OohBae Cafe has served as a welcome distraction from the all that 2020 was and wasn’t for Marie and Dale, as Marie admits, “It kept us busy and helped us forget all the mishaps throughout the year. Dale was let go from his job due to an injury in 2020 and OohBae was there for us to keep our sanity and give us hope.”
For now OohBae Cafe runs as a pop-up out of Aliso Viejo, California, with goods available for pickup or delivery in the local area. Marie adds, “We try to do regular pop-ups once a week or every other week as the demand keeps growing.”