Many foods from around the world begin with the letter "U," including ugli fruit, upside-down cake, udon noodles, U-No Bars, unsweetened chocolate, uunijuusto, urda cheese, urnebes, urap, Utah scones, uttapam, ustipci, ugnspannkaka, ukha, ulava charu, uziza leaf, umeboshi, unagi, umngqusho, uni, uszka, and umibudo.
For Americans, the most recognizable food on the list is probably the upside-down cake. The cake dates back to the 1800s, and it's typically cooked in an iron skillet. They were initially made with apples and cherries but, by the 20th century, they were made mostly with pineapple. During the 1920s, recipes begin popping up in books and advertisements and, by the 1950s, it was one of the most popular cakes to bake. While the popularity of the upside-down cake cooled down for a bit during the late 20th century, they're becoming popular again during the 21st century.
Upside-down cakes aren't the only desserts on the list. U-No Bars debuted in the 1920s, produced by the Cardinet Candy Company. The inside is like a truffle with bits of almond, and it's all covered by a layer of chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate, sometimes called cocoa or bitter chocolate, isn't a dessert in itself, but it's one of the most popular baking ingredients in the country for making chocolate desserts. The Utah scone is a type of scone that's popular in Utah. It's typically fried and dusted with powdered sugar and honey.
There are a few types of produce on the list. The ugli fruit is a nickname for the Jamaican tangelo. The citrus fruit is used to make a dish called ugli pie. Uziza leaves are greens found on the uziza plant in Africa. They have a peppery flavor and are used in soups. Umibudo, aka sea grapes, is a type of seaweed that's popular in Japan.
Many of the foods on the list originated as a part of Asian cuisine. Udon noodles are thick white noodles made from wheat flour. They're an important part of Japanese cuisine, both in Japan and in the United States, and they form the base for many popular udon dishes. Another food important in Japan is umeboshi. It's a salted, pickled plum that Japanese people believe has numerous health benefits. Uni is the Japanese name for sea urchin, a popular dish around the world, and unagi, or grilled ill, is a Japanese delicacy. Beyond Japan, urap is a popular side dish that originated in Indonesia. It's made up of vegetables, coconut, and spices.
Although technically a part of Asia, India has its own unique cuisine, and it features two dishes that start with "U," uttapam and ulava charu. Uttapam is a breakfast recipe made up of rice and urad dal batter and topped with vegetables. Ulava charu is a type of lentil soup made with peppers, tomatoes, and other ingredients.
Several of the dishes originated in Europe as well. Ustipci is a Serbian dish comparable to fried doughnut balls. They may be eaten savory or sweet. Uszka are polish dumplings, often referred to as "little ears." Uunijuusto is a Finnish cheese-like dish that is traditionally made from a cow's colostrum, though it can also be made from regular milk and eggs. Urda cheese is soft crumbly artisan cheese typically made Bulgaria, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, and Hungary. If you've ever had Russian fish soup, it may have been ukha, and urnebes is a Serbian salad made of cheese and peppers. Finally, ugnspannkaka is a Swedish pancake of sorts topped with bacon.
Only one food from Africa made the list, umngqusho. A traditional South African dish, it's made up of beans and samp, or chopped dried corn kernels.