Common in Asia, the purple Okinawan sweet potato, also known as Tumai Kuru or Beni Imo, is often mistakenly referred to as purple yam. This sweet potato has purple colored flesh but it has a light colored skin and is shaped like other varieties of sweet potatoes. It is common for other varieties of sweet potatoes to also be mistakenly referred to as yams.
Purple yam is used to make ube powder, which is a starchy substance added as an ingredient to sweet baked goods, cakes, ice cream, jams, and curries. All varieties of the purple yam are used to make both sweet and savory dishes as well as ground starchy substances used as flavorings and ingredients for other foods.