30 Unique Foods That Start With U

Looking for some unique new dishes to try? While people don’t usually select food items by letter of the alphabet, committing to sampling some of the interesting foods that start with “u” is a good way to get more adventurous when it comes to your culinary choices. This is a particularly good strategy if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of international cuisine.

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Main and Side Dishes Starting With U

From meat and potatoes to seafood or vegetarian options, you may be surprised by some of the many different and unusual food dishes that start with “u.”

  • ube - purple yam tuber popular in many Filipino recipes

  • udon - thick noodle made of wheat flour that is often featured in Japanese cuisine

  • ugali - cornmeal-based side dish commonly served in Africa; resembles polenta

  • Ukrainian cabbage rolls - cabbage leaves rolled around a mixture of cooked white rice and onions, covered with tomato sauce and baked

  • Ukranian dinner rolls - soft, garlicky yeast rolls that easily pull apart

  • umble pie - meat pie that features organ meat from wild game baked in a pie crust

  • umbricelli pasta - long strand pasta that is thicker than spaghetti but thinner than linguini; dense in texture because it’s made with only water and wheat flour (no eggs)

  • unagi - freshwater eel; often featured in Japanese cuisine

  • undhiyu - vegetable curry dish popular in India; features a mixture of vegetables and spices prepared in the same pot

  • uni - gonads of sea urchins; used in Japanese cuisine in some sushi or as a pasta topping

  • upma - Indian breakfast porridge made from rice flour or semolina flour and seasoned to be both sweet and spicy

  • urchins - considered by some people a gourmet delicacy; some refer to them as “the ocean’s foie gras”

  • usban - sausage made with rice, lamb meat and organs (heart and liver), and spices; traditionally eaten in Libya and Tunisia

  • Utica greens - spicy cooked vegetable dish featuring escarole, hot peppers and garlic; named for the city (Utica) of the restaurant that introduced this dish on its menu 

Breads, Soups, Stews and Seasonings That Start With U

Whether served alongside other items or as a meal unto themselves, there are a number of soups and stews that begin with the letter “u,” as well as some breads and seasonings. 

  • ukha - fish and potato soup that is a staple of Russian cuisine

  • ulava charu - thick lentil stew prepared in India; features tomatoes and spices along with lentils

  • unleavened bread - any bread prepared without yeast or other substances designed to make bread rise, such as the Matzah bread traditionally enjoyed by people of the Jewish faith

  • urad dal - black lentils popular in Indian cooking; often prepared as a soup but can be  as a sauce or base for many dishes

  • urfa biber - a chile pepper of Turkish origin known for a flavor profile that includes elements of salty, sweet, sour, and smoky; some say these maroonish red chiles have a flavor similar to that of a raisin

  • uszka - soft mushroom-stuffed dumplings originating in Polish cuisine; type of pierogi traditionally served on Christmas eve in borscht soup

  • utthappam - spiced pan-fried bread (similar to a pancake); covered with toppings and served for breakfast in India

utthappam letter U foodutthappam letter U food

Appetizers, Desserts and Snacks Starting With U

There are some interesting meal starters, endings and between-meal snacks that start with the letter “u.”

  • ububese fruit - commonly referred to as dwarf custard apple; grows in a shrub found in Africa

  • ugli fruit - citrus fruit that is a cross between an orange and a grapefruit

  • ukwa - African breadfruit, somewhat similar to legumes in taste and texture

  • umbeoshi - pickled and salted plums that are a staple in Japanese cuisine

  • umibudo - popular Japanese seaweed snack that looks like tiny green grapes that come from the sea 

  • upside down cake - cakes that have a fruit topping on the bottom with cake on the top, instead of the other way around (think pineapple upside down cake)

  • urda cheese - crumbly whey cheese produced and enjoyed in Eastern Europe; has a mild and sweet flavor

  • urgelia cheese - nutty tasting semi-soft cow’s milk cheese originating in the Catalan region of Spain 

  • Utah scones - deep fried circles of dough based on Native American frybread; served with honey and/or sugar

utah scones letter U foodutah scones letter U food

Interesting Foods to Taste and Describe

This word list should provide you with some interesting options to consider when you’re looking to expand your culinary horizons. Now that you have inspiration for some unique “u” dishes to try, start getting ready to explain the experience to others by mastering some descriptive words for food. Head back to the start of the alphabet and discover amazing foods that start with "a."

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