Purple Yam

I am unbelievably excited for Purple Yam (or ube as Filipinos know it) to finally open. I had my first taste last night and was not disappointed. It may be the only Filipino restaurant in all of Brooklyn with the exception of Umi Nom which I have yet to try and seems to be more Thai-leaning. Purple Yam, like Cendrillon before it, is also Pan-Asian but they use traditional Filipino flavors in most dishes and use them quite well. Everything was familiar yet very new to me. Rather than organize their menu by the typical salad, entree, etc., they have categories such as “the pig.” My kind of place.

We started with the tocino sliders above (photo by flatbushnelson) and Korean meatballs. The sliders were served in a homemade ube pandesal—that takes 2 days to make—with pickled persimmon. And the Korean meatballs came in a canoe-like ube pocket with pickled carrots, cucumber and kimchi on the side. It was what my dining companion described as a “deconstructed banh mi.”

To drink we had kalamansi soju (another example of mixing Filipino & Korean flavors) and classic San Miguel. I haven't seen that beer since I last went to the Philippines. The coolest thing my dad has ever owned was an old San Miguel t-shirt from maybe the 70s that he wore until it was threadbare.

Next was the beef tapa salad—probably my favorite dish of the night. A salad?! Yes... It was a simply dressed salad, light on greens and heavy on the meat—intense, flavorful, amazing, meat. We also had the pancit which came in a deep bowl with a bit of broth and topped with slices of some kind of sausage. It was pretty tasty but I prefer a more traditional, broth-less pancit. Although I must say that it was better than most of the pancit I’ve had in a restaurants which always fall short compared to my mom’s.

Another reason to be grateful that PY has opened 4 blocks away (besides the fact that there are no decent Asian restaurants Ditmas Park) is the dessert. I have gone to far ends of Queens with a little cooler to find my favorite ube ice cream & bring it back home. The purple yam ice cream I had last night was better than any store bought version I’ve had. And it’s no wonder, as chef Romy later informed me that they make their own ice cream there. We also had the macapuno ice cream on top of buko pie—coconut heaven. I’m told that they also serve one of my favorites, bibinka—a coconut rice cake with a texture similar to mochi—during brunch.

I can’t believe that this wonderful restaurant used to be just another 99¢ store. PY is a great addition to the neighborhood and I’m sure I’ll be there quite often.


  1. Thanks for the Purple Yam love! Did you see our review in the Times yesterday?

  2. Yes! Tweeted this morning... I'm sure I'll need to make reservations well in advance with all this great press you're getting! I had my birthday dinner there earlier this month & everyone was impressed with the wonderful food. I can't wait until the next time my parents are in town so I can bring them by!