In India, this vegetable is known as ratalu or Kand or violet yam or the Moraga Surprise. In other parts of the Malay world, the word ubi refers to any yam or tuber. In Tonga: ufi (and is considered there as a royal food), in Hawaii: uhi, in Tahiti: ufi. In the Philippines, ube is cooked with sugar and eaten as a sweetened dessert or jam called ube halaya which is a bright violet color. Ube is also an ingredient in the fruity dessert halo halo, another popular Filipino dessert.
In botany, this species is also known by the names "water yam" and "winged yam."
Ube is now used in a variety of desserts, as well as a flavor for ice cream, milk, Swiss rolls, tarts, cookies, cakes, and other pastries. Ube also sometimes is used in the Philippines to denote the colour purple or violet.