Tapioca is an essentially flavourless starchy ingredient used in cooking, similar to sago. Tapioca is produced from treated and dried cassava (manioc) root. Tapioca takes the form either of fine dried flakes, or more commonly, small hard white spheres or 'pearls' that are soaked before use. These spheres are a common ingredient in Southeast Asian desserts, in puddings such as tapioca pudding, and in drinks such as bubble tea where they provide a chewy contrast to the sweetness of the drink. Cassava flour (tapioca flour) is commonly used as a food thickener, and is also used as a binder in tablets.