Sago Pearl (in English, it is pronounced “say-goh”) refers to a palm from which starch is produced.

Sago varieties include palm sago, cycad sago, cassava sago, or even potato sago. These pearls are opaque when raw, but after soaking and boiling, they grow bigger, transparent, soft, and spongy. They are now available in a variety of artificial colors, such as red and green, on the market. Commercially, sago is frequently made in the shape of “pearls” (small rounded starch aggregates, partly gelatinized by heating). Sago starch is derived from two separate plants: sago and tapioca. Sago starch and tapioca starch are processed into “pearls,” which are small balls in shape, around two millimeters in diameter. The term sago is also applied to starch produced from various sources, most notably the sago cycad, Cycas revoluta. The sago cycad is frequently referred to as the sago palm.

sago pearl

When you hear sago (“sah-go”) in the Philippines, the first thing that comes to mind is something that looks like the tapioca pearls used in boba cocktails in the United States. Sago pearls can be cooked with water or milk and sugar to form a delicious sago pudding. Sago when it’s cooked can be added to a sweet drinks like buko pandan. Sago pearls resemble other pearled starches, such as cassava starch (tapioca) and potato starch. Sago starch can be baked (to make something similar to bread, pancakes, or biscuits).

These ingredients are used in culinary preparations.

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