Food from Sabah Malaysia: Tapioca & Soto

Tapioca and Soto from Malaysia
Tapioca and Soto from Sabah, Malaysia

Tapioca & Soto from Sabah, Malaysia

Tapioca to me is a desert, and soto is a soup. So only in Sabah, Malaysia could you expect to find this as a savoury dish, and learn a lot more about it.

What’s tapioca?

Tapioca is derived from the Cassava tuber. In the process of extracting starch from the root, tapioca pearls, or beads, are formed. This is a starchy form of sustenance to many countries the world over.

The Malaysian lady serving this seemed to enjoy my surprise and uncertainty about eating  Tapioca in the form of a “soup filler”.

What does Tapioca Soup (soto) taste like?

The soto itself is a meat based broth. Beside it is a small pack of dried tapioca sticks. You simply break them up and place them into your soup or soto. What happens next explains a lot.

The tapioca quickly swells up from soaking in the soup. Absorbing all its flavor and giving the otherwise bland starchy sticks a much-needed boost. Moreover, the lady serving it explained that because it soaks up liquid, it fills up your stomach with ease.

Not bad if you’re on a diet!

Coupled with its relative in-expensiveness tapioca and soto make for a small filling meal that many local workers consume everyday in Sabah.

This is an additional post and one of a series highlighting Food in Sabah, Malaysia

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11 Replies to “Food from Sabah Malaysia: Tapioca & Soto”

  1. I have never seen this either. Look at the black thingy surfaced on the soup, around the bowl & spoon, I think I will give this a pass. Oops :)

  2. Looking into veggie dishes and naturally tapioca gets mentioned alot. An interesting tidbit, one of South Africa’s largest breweries is helping local farmers capitalize on their cassava crops, by making beer out of it! Cool.
    This soup looks interesting. I too am curious about the black stuff … pepper?

    1. Nope, the black things were tiny little beef meatballs, thought there were some small herb like things floating in there too! Cassava is one of those diverse crops that seems to grow everywhere. Interesting stuff, if a little bland. I guess turning it into beer would help :)

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