All you need to know about Taro vs Ube

All you need to know about Taro vs Ube
All you need to know about Taro vs Ube

All you need to know about Taro vs Ube

I love a good and interesting article and this seems like one. Do you have an idea what taro and ube are? If yes that’s great.

If you have absolutely no idea what taro vs ube is but will like to know. Then keep reading to find out all about taro and ube.

Taro and ube are both vegetables used in cooking. However, people use them interchangeably due to their similarities in appearance.

It is very possible that what you think is taro might actually be ube and vice versa. So how can you differentiate them?

Let’s take a closer and more direct approach to distinguish between taro vs ube.

What are taro and Ube?

Like I earlier said, taro and ube are vegetables. Not just any kind of veggies; they are starchy vegetables that look like eggplants.

If you have seen an eggplant then you should have a mental picture of what taro and ube look like.

These two colorful and beautiful vegetables are from the potato family. Although they may look alike, they have distinct features including their origin, taste, and culinary uses.


What’s the difference between taro and ube?

To fully understand and identify the differences between taro and ube we will consider 4 different subheadings. They include;


Taro originated from southeast Asia and India. Since its emergence, it has spread across different countries including Hawaii, China, Japan, and Africa.

This root vegetable comes from the family of tropical plants “Colocasia Esculenta” also known as potato tropics. It is also popularly called purple yam.

On the other hand, Ube also originated from Southeast Asia, and just like Taro, it has rapidly spread to other parts of the world.

Ube is majorly found in Filipino dishes (Philippines). The vegetable is readily grown in the united states of America, Australia, and certain parts of Africa.


Ube (pronounced ooh bae) has a very unique purplish color. This differentiates it from a regular potato or taro. It adds beautiful and outstanding color to food substances.

It is quite easy to find pictures of ube on the internet, people love attractive colors, therefore, it is more exciting to take pictures of colorful food.

Taro on the other hand has a lighter color (lavender or white), however, it is more available in powder form. Producers of taro add more color and flavor, this is more attractive for business purposes.


The flavor of ube depends on certain factors including the manner it was planted and the size of the vegetable.

Ube is sweeter than Taro. It has a moist taste that is similar to the taste of vanilla. For this reason, people use ube as flavors for baking and preparation of ice cream.

The feel of ube after cooking is sticky and moist while taro has a soft and dry feel to it.

Unlike ube, taro has a more nutty and earthy taste. This doesn’t mean that it is bitter and tasteless, it simply shows that ube is sweeter than taro.

Taro is used in preparing savory dishes or desserts.

Culinary uses

All you need to know about Taro vs Ube
All you need to know about Taro vs Ube

Purple yam can also be used in preparing savory dishes; however, this vegetable is very sweet so if it is not done properly, it can add a weird taste to the dish.

To prepare ice cream, milk tea, and donuts people use purple yam in its powdery form.

The flavor, taste, and color of ube make it an ingredient baking and preparation of desserts such as ice cream. Just imagine what a purple or lilac ice cream will look like, it will almost be irresistible.

Look out for withered ube, when the starch dissolves it produces a vanilla flavor.

The most important thing you should know about taro is; it must not be eaten raw because it contains calcium oxalate which is detrimental to the health.

Symptoms may include severe stomach pain, breathing disorder, and in extreme cases death.

Taro looks a lot like a potato when it is properly cooked; you can fry, boil or mash it. People use taro in preparing sour and sweet foods including cupcakes, ice cream, and other continental dishes.

You can also have a cup of taro bubble tea, I heard it tastes amazing.

Which is better?

Taro and purple yam are both starchy vegetables that can be used in preparing similar food.

Despite their similarity, it is not advisable to use these vegetables interchangeably. Adding too much purple yam to your savory dishes can add a weird taste to your food.

Choose the right vegetable and use it for the appropriate meal.

Frequently asked questions on Taro and Purple yam

  1. Are taro and ube the same thing

All you need to know about Taro and Ube
All you need to know about Taro and Ube

Taro and purple yam are different starchy vegetables. Ube has an outstanding purple color while taro has a more subtle lavender color.

Purple yam has a sweeter taste than taro which has an earthy or nutty taste.

Taro and ube may be similar in an uncanny manner however, they are both different vegetables.

  1. What is the difference between taro and yam?

The major difference between yam and taro is their families. Taro originated from Southeast Asia while the origin of yams can be traced to Africa.

Taro also contains more calcium, potassium, magnesium, water, iron, niacin, and vitamin E than yam.

  1. Why is taro itchy?

The presence of calcium oxalate in taro is responsible for the itch. In a bid to avoid this itch most people wear rubber gloves or apply mustard oil before preparing the vegetable.

  1. What stops itching from taro?

There are quite a number of things you can do to relieve the itch. If taro gets to your skin, follow these steps to relieve the itch;

  • Wash the affected area with cold water
  • Apply a generous amount of table salt or baking soda around the affected region.
  • An anti-itch cream will also yield positive results

When taro is not properly cooked it can result in an internal itch. To relieve this itch, apply the following steps;

  • Mix baking soda and salt in cold water
  • Mix thoroughly
  • Take a gulp, swish it around for a few seconds.
  • Repeat the process, then rinse with cold water.

Is purple yam and ube the same thing?

Due to the striking purple color of ube, it is popularly called purple yam.

Can taro be poisonous?

Taro is poisonous and inedible in its raw form, it can result in certain health conditions including stomach pain, breathing disorders, and other irritation.

In extreme cases, when taro is consumed in an excessive manner it can lead to death.

Is ube sweet potatoes?

Ube is from a family of sweet potatoes; in fact, a lot of people refer to it as “purple sweet potatoes”


I have begun my search for ube I need to taste it. It sounds like something really delicious and I can’t wait to know what it tastes like.

Taro also sounds really good too, however, I’m a little bit skeptical about it because of the itch.

We have come to the end of this entertaining and educative article.

What do you think? Will you give taro and purple yam a trial?