Sago pearls are small, rounded starch aggregates that are partly gelatinized by heating. They are are similar in appearance to other pearled starches such as tapioca and potato starch. Sago pearls can be boiled with water, milk, and sugar to make a sweet sago pudding, which is a popular dessert in many cultures. It is a popular topping for bubble tea in lieu of tapioca pearls (boba).
Sago pearls are often preferred in traditional recipes due to their unique texture and flavor. However, they are more expensive to produce than tapioca pearls, which are commonly used as a cheaper substitute. Sago pearls are a versatile ingredient and can be used in a variety of dishes, including desserts, soups, and stews. They are a staple in many Southeast Asian cuisines and are also popular in Indian and African cuisine.