Perle Japon

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

perle Japon a uniquely French product, with a superficial resemblance to tapioca but based on potato starch. The small pearly grains, of regular size and round shape, are rehydrated before being cooked.

This product developed in a sidelong manner from tapioca. It became apparent that if the manner of producing tapioca was modified to make it come out in regular round ‘pearls’, the product had more attraction. So tapioca in pearl form competed with regular tapioca, both being made from cassava starch, as tapioca still is. Then, towards the end of the 19th century, the pearls began to be made from the native product, potato starch, instead of the imported cassava starch. Thus the two products parted company.