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.
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.