What's That Food? (WTF?) - Tapioca Pearls

“What are those black balls at the bottom of the bubble tea?”

“Oh, they’re tapioca pearls.”

“Cool, cool… What’s tapioca?”

“…”

We’ve all heard the conversation before, if we haven’t had it ourselves. The chewy little balls are a standard topping for bubble tea, even if nobody seems to know what they really are. Next time your friends ask, you can give them the simple answer:

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Yuca.

Okay, so it’s not that simple. Yuca (or cassava in some parts of the world) is a very versatile root vegetable. It can be mashed, cooked, fried (like in our yuca with edamame hummus!) or boiled with soups. It also has a lot of starch in it, with is extracted to make tapioca. The starch is then made into balls, which look much closer to what we’re familiar with. Once boiled in hot water, the balls expand and change colour into a chewy treat.

So, thanks to Ramo Ramen, know you know! Feel free to spread the word the next time your confused friend asks what the hell's in your drink.

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(And for the record, tapioca is gluten-free!)