What Is Taro Flavor?

I hate to admit this because it probably makes me seem uneducated, but the first time I remember hearing about taro root was in the farming simulator game Stardew Valley. In the game, you start with a handful of turnip seeds that you can plant on your farm, and as you explore the valley you find more varied types of plants to grow and cultivate. There’s also a lot more to the game but I simply don’t have the space to get into it here. Anyway, late in the game you unlock an island area where you can find taro seeds and plant them. So, I know from the little icon in my inventory that taro is long and brown, and I know from the game mechanics that it can be used to make poi. And that was pretty much all I knew about taro until I did the research for this article. Let’s read the taro tarot cards and see what we can learn.

What is taro?

Taro is a starchy root vegetable that’s a little like a yam. It is a staple in cuisines around the globe, including Africa, Asia, and Australia. The word “taro” comes from the Maori language. It’s often translated as “bread.” As noted, taro is probably most famous as the main ingredient in poi, a traditional Polynesian dish of mashed taro root.

Today, world taro production is around 18 million tons a year, with the majority of the world’s taro coming from Nigeria.

What does taro flavor taste like?

How to describe taro flavor? Though taro is related to potatoes and other starchy root vegetables you may have had, it tastes totally different. Taro has a flavor all its own. That said, it’s actually quite mild with a slightly sweet taste—sort of like a mildly nutty vanilla. Because of this flavor profile, taro is a great addition to sweet treats like boba tea or ice cream.

What flavor is taro tea?

For some people, their first time encountering taro might be in the form of tea. Taro milk tea or boba is quite popular. The taro gives the tea a distinct purple color that looks pretty cool. And the mild flavor of the taro blends wit the sweetened condensed milk for a delicious, creamy, nutty flavor. There’s perhaps a hint of vanilla, as well, and some people have referred to taro milk tea and almost having a cookies and cream flavor.

What else can you do with taro?

Maybe boba tea just isn’t your thing, but you still are curious about trying taro. Fortunately, there are a whole bunch of other recipes that use this versatile root. The recipe blog Yummy Addiction has a list of 21 different taro dishes you can make at home. This includes everything from soup, fritters, spring rolls and dumplings (I told you taro was very versatile). One recipe that looks particularly appealing to me, unsurprisingly, is the deep fried sugared taro. It’s an indulgent and delicious way to add some taro into your diet. But if you want to be more traditional, you can also easily make poi with taro, water, and a little salt. There is, as we all know from Stardew Valley, no wrong way to enjoy taro.


About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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