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Where to buy Okinawan Sweet Potato

gaianeh Dec 6, 2012 09:21 PM

Does anyone know of any place in SF that sells Okinawan Sweet Potatoes? I got back from Hawaii recently and I'm hooked on the purple goodness!

  1. k
    kzukor Dec 7, 2012 10:17 AM

    They sometimes have them at Berkeley Bowl, but I haven't seen them lately.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kzukor
      noodlelife Jun 6, 2013 09:50 AM

      I've never ever seen them at Berkeley Bowl which is disappointing to me since I shop there pretty much all the time. Are there other east bay spots where they appear?

      1. re: noodlelife
        ...tm... Jun 6, 2013 02:09 PM

        I know I've gotten them in the past from either Berkeley Bowl West (which was blocks from my house, so I was there very frequently) and/or Monterey Market, though it isn't an always have at either. I don't know if it is seasonal--my first google result at the Honoulu Star says, "Okinawan sweet potato is generally available year-round, however peak season is September through the end of the year." I remember bringing haupia pie to a wine crush event, which fits in with that timing, so it is possible they are at more markets that time of the year.
        Yesterday I think I saw them at Sun Hop Fat #1, on 12th St., but I also stopped by Thien Loi Hoa, so it could have been there.

        1. re: ...tm...
          Robert Lauriston Jun 6, 2013 02:43 PM

          I think local are seasonal but imported are available year-round.

    2. letsindulge Dec 7, 2012 11:59 AM

      I'm in S. Bay & have seen them @ Nijiiya, and Marukai markets.

      1. j
        jaspermiles Dec 7, 2012 12:48 PM

        Last weekend I bought some at Nijiya in San Francisco to make purple sweet potato lattes.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jaspermiles
          ckshen Dec 7, 2012 03:36 PM

          Is Okinawan sweet potato the same as japanese sweet potato? i buy them weekly at farmer's market in the south bay. and these days asian growers are harvesting them so it should be available in other markets.

          1. re: ckshen
            jaspermiles Dec 7, 2012 05:30 PM

            Sweet potatoes labeled "Japanese" are usually white inside and "Okinawan" ones are purple inside.

            1. re: jaspermiles
              ckshen Dec 7, 2012 09:42 PM

              ah. thank you. how do they differ in taste?

          2. re: jaspermiles
            escargot3 Dec 7, 2012 04:41 PM

            "purple sweet potato latkes"...those sound wild.

            1. re: jaspermiles
              gaianeh Dec 8, 2012 12:49 PM

              Ooh, thanks! I'll go check out Nijiya.

              1. re: gaianeh
                Windy Jun 8, 2013 07:56 PM

                I also got them at Japantown in SF at Super Mira.

            2. ipsedixit Jun 6, 2013 10:44 AM

              I could've sworn I spied some of these at one of the vendors inside the Ferry Building.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit
                Robert Lauriston Jun 6, 2013 12:14 PM

                Nakashima Farms used to have them, but I don't see them on the list any more.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  ipsedixit Jun 6, 2013 12:21 PM

                  Don't remember the vendor's name, but it's the one directly across from the meat/butcher stall.

              2. Robert Lauriston Jun 6, 2013 12:29 PM

                Pietisserie has an Okinawan sweet potato pie on its menu this month, so you might call and ask where they get them.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  noodlelife Jun 6, 2013 01:37 PM

                  yes! i love that pie and actually have been meaning to ask her where she sources them from. thanks for the reminder!

                2. emily Jun 7, 2013 06:33 PM

                  Not SF, but Nak's Market in Menlo Park carries them. Just bought one yesterday. Along with some rambutans.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: emily
                    emily Jun 7, 2013 08:56 PM

                    I meant mangosteens - not rambutan.

                  2. Peter Yee Jun 8, 2013 06:29 PM

                    Also not SF, but my wife claims she's bought some at Ranch 99 in Mountain View. Perhaps other branches carry them?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Peter Yee
                      paulj Jun 8, 2013 11:05 PM

                      99 (in the Seattle area) routinely has 4 kinds of sweet potato (also labeled as yam).

                      white and red yam are cheapest (about $.60/lb)
                      Japanese yam (around $1/lb)
                      purple yam (about $2/lb)

                      Japanese has a somewhat darker and rougher skin than the red. Also tends to be quite large.

                      Purple comes in all sizes, some small. Light colored skin.

                      Japanese and purple have the best flavor. Japanese is a bit sweeter. I eat both without added seasoning (after baking or steaming).

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