What’s purple and delicious that’s popular among Filipinos?
Grimace? I don’t even know what Grimace is supposed to be (nor what it tastes like… nor if it’s popular). I’ll pretend that I didn’t mention it in the title. UBE!
(read more about it here)
Ube, known in English as purple yam, is a tuber that is made into a variety of sweets in the Philippines. You can see it as candies, jams, cakes, and ice creams. Lately, it has found its way into the Filipino breakfast staple – the pandesal.
I’ve caught the ube cheese pandesal craze quite late but boy did it hit me hard. I have been trying different versions of it since the start of the community quarantine and I have decided to rank my top 6 (I have tried more than 10) based on the ube, cheese, and the pandesal itself.
(6) FIRST TRY: AGING’S FOOD DELIGHTS
I had high hopes for this one as it was my first ever ube cheese pandesal order. I found out about them after reading a local news page.
It was okay at best. The bread arrived quite warm and the packaging was nice and neat. The bread itself was airy-soft with a panaderya pandesal texture (does this make sense?). Inside, they put a decent amount of ube and cheese. The ube halaya was pleasantly sweet but it lacked the ube-ness I was looking for. The mild-tasting cheese didn’t melt much after 30 seconds in the microwave.
I was glad that I ordered a pack of their Spanish bread as I enjoyed that more than the ube cheese pandesal.
IG: Aging’s Food Delight
Price: 200 PHP / 10 pieces
(5) DIFFERENT TAKE: SALTA!
Salta’s take piqued my interest as they use cream cheese. I read about them on a food blog and decided to give them a go.
The taste was interesting. The texture of the bread was closer to a dinner roll than a pandesal (probably why the call it panroll). The cream cheese’s tartness contrasted quite well with the ube which was mildly sweet. I didn’t try warming the rolls as I didn’t know what would happen with the cream cheese if I pop the pastry in the microwave.
IG: Salta! Italian Rotisserie Bar
Price: 260 PHP / half dozen
(4) SOFT AND SUBTLE: MY BABY PAT
Another find from the local news page I mentioned earlier. I checked their Instagram page, inquired, then ordered.
The first thing I noticed is that they wrapped the bread in twos. It looks quite neat and makes for easier sharing. Their ube cheese pandesal looks like chubby Spanish bread with purple swirls.
The bread is soft and dense which is to my liking. The ube wasn’t too sweet, bordering on subtle. It would have been nice if they either made the ube sweeter or added more of it in the bread just to give a bit more ube oomph. The way they placed the cheese was fantastic – it wasn’t just one big lump of cheese in the middle. A few seconds on the microwave and the cheese melted beautifully.
Side notes: I also ordered half a dozen of ensaymada from them. Oh goodness, do yourself a favor and try their Gruyere ensaymada. Based on experience, they’re very friendly and accommodating.
IG: Baby Pat Breads & Pastries
Price: 320 PHP / dozen
(3) BANG FOR THE BUCK: JENNIFER ESTACIO
If you follow Masarap Ba on Instagram, then you would’ve probably read about Jennifer Estacio’s ube cheese pandesal. Coincidentally, this is also the most popular one in our condominium (my neighbors are pasabuy addicts – a play of words on sabay meaning together and buy).
I would say her take is the most well-balanced among the bunch. The bread still had that pandesal texture. You know – soft and airy yet rough at the same time? I liked the sweetness of their ube halaya which reminded me of the ones you get from the palengke. I loved those when I was a kid! The cheese, even after warming the bread for 30 seconds, did not melt much.
I first saw their pastries on Gretchen Barretto’s Instagram. I guess she’s a very effective endorser as I immediately messaged The Sweet Life by Ange after seeing Gretchen’s post.
I immediately noticed how packed their pandesal is with ube and cheese. They definitely did not scrimp on those. The bread was soft and dense which is what I like. Their ube is not that sweet and feels a bit thick on the tongue. Their cheese is the best in my opinion. If you want the cheesiest one, this is your bet.
I would like to commend them for putting thought into their packaging. Their boxes even have gold details!
IG: The Sweet Life by Ange
Price: 600 PHP / dozen
(1) MY FAVORITE: JUSTYN’S CAFE
I have ordered this more than once. I am in love with this ube cheese pandesal! Had it not been for my fake keto diet I would have devoured an entire box for myself. No kidding.
The bread? Pillowy soft, airy, but still dense. The cheese melts and stretches well. And oh my the ube’s the absolute best among the bunch. It somewhat reminds me of the ube from the Good Shepherd! I’m not surprised that even among my friends, this is the favorite ube cheese pandesal. I just couldn’t get enough of it!
This is just me nitpicking, but I do wish that they have a standard box for packaging. The first time I ordered, it was plain white. The last time, it had cartoon-y cupcake prints.
Do be patient when ordering as they’re always inundated with orders and inquiries. They will arrange the delivery for you so plus points for that. If you prefer to book your own, it’s also possible. I have also tried their Belgian Chocolate Cake – delicious!
IG: Justyn Cafe Philippines
Price: 600 PHP / dozen
As I was writing this, I was eating a piece of Justyn’s ube cheese pandesal. It’s quite possible that half of the 3 kilos I gained during the quarantine is from devouring ube cheese pandesals. I won’t be surprised if I look like Grimace in the future. Hahaha!