Tapioca pearls. These are a larger version of tapioca balls. Tapioca pearls are made from tapioca starch, the white powder obtained from cassava roots. Tapioca pearls are also called bobas or tapioca balls. Tapioca pearls achieved world fame through its presence in the a Chinese drink called bubble tea. Though naturally white in colour, the tapioca pearls can be transformed into a variety of colour by adding ingredients. They are also used as pudding thickeners. Tapioca pearls are very popular and widely used in East Asian and South East Asian cuisines.