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Ube Kinampay Bohol – A Taste of Bohol

When you think of Bohol, the picturesque Chocolate Hills and adorable tarsiers might come to mind first. However, for food enthusiasts, Bohol is also synonymous with a unique and delectable treat: Ube Kinampay. This purple yam delicacy isn’t just a dessert, it’s a cultural icon that holds a special place in the hearts and stomachs of the locals and tourists alike. Famous for its vibrant color and rich, creamy taste, Ube Kinampay is a must-try when visiting Bohol. Known locally as “ubi,” this yam is cherished across the province, from Panglao Island to Guindulman.

History and Cultural Significance

Historical Background

Ube Kinampay, known scientifically as Dioscorea alata, has a long and storied history in Bohol. This tuber, distinguished by its deep purple hue, has been cultivated in the region for centuries. The unique climate and soil composition of Bohol provide the perfect conditions for growing this particular variety of yam. Over time, Ube Kinampay has evolved from a humble root crop to a celebrated ingredient in many Filipino desserts and dishes. Its rise in popularity can be traced back to traditional practices where families would harvest and cook the yam, often transforming it into a sweet paste or jam called ube halaya. The planting materials for Ube Kinampay are carefully selected to ensure the best quality, as this climbing plant which produces tubers with rough skin and a vibrant purple color can weigh up to 6 kilos.

ube or purple yam getting harvested

Cultural Importance

The cultural significance of Ube Kinampay goes beyond its culinary uses. In Bohol, it is often associated with festivities and celebrations, including the Ubi Festival held every January. During local festivals, such as the Sandugo Festival, Ube Kinampay is prominently featured in various food stalls and culinary contests. The yam is also a symbol of local pride, representing the island’s agricultural heritage. Additionally, there are traditional beliefs and customs linked to the planting and harvesting of Ube Kinampay. For many Boholanos, the process is seen as a communal activity that brings families together, reinforcing bonds and preserving cultural traditions. Ubi tubers, with their irregular shape and sweet flavor, are often shared among family and friends, making them a sacred part of local culture. The Department of Agricultural highlights Ube Kinampay as a key product of Bohol’s agribusiness sector.

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Ingredients and Preparation Methods

Key Ingredients

  • Ube Kinampay (purple yam)
  • Coconut milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Sugar

ube or purple yam pudding in a small bowl and a spoon

Preparation Process

  1. Cleaning the Yam: Start by thoroughly washing the Ube Kinampay to remove any dirt or impurities.
  2. Boiling the Yam: Boil the yam in water until it becomes tender. This usually takes about 30-40 minutes.
  3. Mashing: Once boiled, peel the yam and mash it until smooth. Ensure there are no lumps to achieve a creamy texture.
  4. Cooking the Mixture: In a large pan, combine the mashed yam, coconut milk, condensed milk, and sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously to prevent burning. This method preserves the yam’s natural aroma and sweet flavor.
  5. Thickening: Continue to cook until the mixture thickens and reaches a paste-like consistency. This step can take up to an hour, so patience is key.
  6. Cooling and Serving: Once thickened, allow the mixture to cool. Ube Kinampay can be enjoyed as a spread, filling, or as a base for various desserts like polvoron and puto. Store any leftovers in the fridge to maintain freshness.

Where to Find the Best Versions

Recommended Places

  • Bohol Bee Farm: Known for its organic produce and delicious food, the Bohol Bee Farm offers a delightful version of Ube Kinampay ice cream that is a favorite among visitors. This is a prime example of Bohol’s commitment to slow food practices.
  • Buzz CafĂ©: Located in Tagbilaran, Buzz CafĂ© serves a variety of Ube-based desserts, including the popular Ube Kinampay cheesecake that is a perfect blend of tradition and innovation.
  • Local Markets: For an authentic experience, visit the local markets in Bohol where vendors sell homemade Ube Kinampay jam. These markets offer a taste of the traditional preparation methods passed down through generations. You can also find the best ube products here, including traditional delicacies like ube halaya and kinampay or ube.

Personal Experiences

I remember my first encounter with Ube Kinampay at the Bohol Bee Farm. The vibrant purple ice cream, served in a freshly made cone, was a revelation. The natural sweetness of the yam, combined with the creaminess of the ice cream, made it an unforgettable treat. Another memorable experience was at Buzz CafĂ©, where the Ube Kinampay cheesecake left a lasting impression with its perfect balance of flavors. Exploring the local markets also provided a glimpse into the community’s love for this delicacy, with each vendor sharing stories of their unique recipes and family traditions. The stories of how these yams, sometimes with irregular shapes, are harvested and transformed into delightful treats are as captivating as the flavors themselves. The Bureau of Agricultural even notes how during times when food was scarce, the hardy ubi tubers were a vital source of nutrition, rich in vitamins and glucose.

ube flavored ice cream in a cone, purple in color

Conclusion

Ube Kinampay is more than just a delicious treat, it’s a window into the rich cultural and agricultural heritage of Bohol. From its historical roots to its modern-day variations, this purple yam continues to captivate both locals and tourists. Whether you’re sampling it in the form of ice cream, cheesecake, or traditional jam, Ube Kinampay offers a taste of Bohol that is both unique and unforgettable. Whether you are on Panglao Island or in Guindulman, the ubi experience is a must.

Have you ever tried Ube Kinampay? If not, make sure to add it to your must-try list when visiting Bohol. And don’t forget to explore other Boholano delicacies featured on our blog. Your culinary adventure in Bohol awaits! You can even bring some Ube Kinampay products abroad to share a piece of Bohol’s culture with others.

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