the roots of the tapioca plant are used to make tapioca paste

The History of Tapioca

Tapioca has many names across many continents. The English word is cassava, but in South American in the area around Brazil it is called madioca. In Africa where French is spoken it is called manioc. In Spanish-speaking countries it is called yuca (not to be confused with decorative yucca plant). In Asia it is called tapioca.

The origins of tapioca are many, but the principle origin is in the tropical areas of the American continents, especially in South America. The countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Honduras planted tapioca three to five thousand years before the plant was distributed across the Americas and elsewhere. In the 15th century, slave traders and the Portuguese brought tapioca to the African continent.

Tapioca reached Asia around the 17th century, when the Spanish brought it from Mexico for planting in Philippines. In the 18th century, the Dutch brought cassava into Indonesia.

During World War II's Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia, many refugees survived on tapioca, as the plant is easily propagated by stem-cutting, grows well in low-nutrient soils, and can be harvested every two months. (However, to grow to full maturity, it takes 10 months). The plant thus provided much needed carbohydrate and protein.

Pearl Tapioca

Pearl tapioca is also known as boba to some cultures. It is produced by passing the moist starch through a sieve under pressure. Pearl tapioca is a common ingredient in Asian desserts such as kolak, in tapioca pudding, and in sweet drinks such as bubble tea, fruit slush and taho, where they provide a chewy contrast to the sweetness and texture of the drink. Small pearls are preferred for use in puddings; large pearls are preferred for use in drinks. These large pearls most often are brown, not white (and traditionally are used in black or green tea drinks), but are available in a wide variety of pastel colors. Not only are they used in tea drinks, they are also available as an option in shaved ice and hot drinks. The most famous drink called boba/pearl milk tea can be found in many places.


                                                                                                          tapioca extraction plant in Asia

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