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What are boba pearls really made of?

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  • patty Oct 7, 2003 03:21 PM
  • 9

I know they're commonly called tapioca pearls, but does anyone know if they really, actually have tapioca in them? I heard somewhere that they're made of that Japanese yam-type substance (konnyaku) which has no calories and tons of fiber. If this is true, it would make a boba drink considerably healthier than if it was all tapioca starch which I thought was the case. Especially if you could make one without so much sugar...

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  1. As I understand it, tapioca IS made from cassava, a yam like tuber.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sbp

      Right, cassava is a type of yam, but a starchy, type of yam.
      Here is a quote from the konnyaku website:
      Konjac flour is a water-soluble dietary fiber which is derived from the root of the konjac plant (Amorphophallus konjac) native to China and Japan.
      So it's not really a yam at all, but it is a type of root, and that's why it's sometimes called Japanese yam noodles.

    2. sorry, but I think they are starch.

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        Professor Salt

        Boba pearls are dry tapioca starch and caramel coloring, compressed into balls. Konnyaku (or the Taiwanese rendering, konjac) is an entirely different thing, although they both end up in sweetened drinks.

        1. You can get your konjac fix from those candies that small children have been choking on.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Gary Soup

            Also konjac is a very strong laxative. Not only is there a chance ya'll may choke getting them down, but they won't stay there long.

            1. re: Gary Soup

              You can still get the jelly candies? Where? I wanna get some! They stopped selling them at 99 Ranch & other asian stores in the South Bay (of Bay Area) after the kid choked & the parents successfully sued. Not even mom&pop asian stores have them, atleast none that I found.

              1. re: A Ringer

                In the South Bay area of Los Angeles I still find them at mom & pop Vietnamese groceries. The shape has changed so that instead of the little cup it is flatter and not round - I suppose to minimize the choking risk. Good luck!

            2. they are made out of either tapioca starch or tapioca roots or tubers. i don't think they are made out of konnyaku