What Does Taro Taste Like? Check this Out If You’ve Never Tried It

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If you’ve never had taro milk tea, then you are in for a treat. A few years back I was visiting my friend in Asia, the tea capital of the world. Her enthusiasm toward taro milk tea meant that I had to try it. She wasn’t wrong either! The soft lilac drink is not only eye-catching, it tastes amazing too. In fact, sometimes there is actually no tea present in taro milk tea! And these days if you walk into a bubble tea or boba tea shop, you’re likely going to encounter this flavor. So what makes this tea so delicious? What does taro tea taste like, exactly? Keep reading below to find out more!

What Does Taro Taste Like? A Flavor Profile If You’ve Never Tried It

Table of Contents

What is Taro?

Believed to be one of the oldest crops on earth, taro is a tropically grown crop in Asia. It is believed to have grown for over 10,000 years.

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It is a major dietary staple throughout Asia, and many Pacific Islands, such as Fiji, New Zealand, and Hawaii.

Taro is a root vegetable coming from the plant called Araceae. The leaves are edible too and are actually heart-shaped!

The color of taro root is dependent on where it is cultivated but it can be white, purple, or pink. The root usually is covered in brown skin, and inside has white flesh with tiny purple spots.

The texture of taro is very similar to that of the potato because it is quite starchy. Also, people eat taro as they would a potato. Taro can also be boiled, fried, roasted, or baked.

What Does Taro Look Like?

Taro has a distinct appearance that sets it apart from other tubers.

The taro root is typically elongated and cylindrical, with a rough, brown skin that can be quite thick. Once you slice through the skin, you’ll find a dense, starchy flesh that ranges in color from white to pale purple, depending on the variety. The flesh is often speckled with tiny, dark purple spots, adding to its unique visual appeal.

When raw, taro has a firm, almost waxy texture. But don’t let that fool you – once cooked, taro transforms into a soft, starchy delight that’s often compared to the consistency of a potato.

It’s common to see them both in main dishes and dessert.

What Does Taro Taste Like? A Flavor Profile If You’ve Never Tried It

Taro Varieties

While we often think of taro as a single vegetable, there are actually several varieties, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the most common types include:

  • Dasheen: This variety has a large central corm and smaller side corms, with white flesh that has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
  • Eddoe: Smaller than dasheen, eddoe taro has a more rounded shape and a denser, nuttier flavor.
  • Bun Long: Known for its long, slender corms, this variety has a delicate, slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture when cooked.

While the root gets most of the attention, don’t overlook the leaves!

Taro leaves are large, heart-shaped, and have a glossy, dark green color. They’re edible and are often used in dishes like Hawaiian laulau, where they wrap around pork or fish before being steamed. When cooked, taro leaves have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a tender texture that’s similar to spinach.

Raw Taro Taste

Well, when you take a bite of uncooked taro, you’ll notice that it has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It’s kind of like a mix between a potato and a chestnut. This subtle taste comes from the high amount of starch in the taro root.

When you bite into raw taro, you’ll also notice that it has a firm, almost waxy texture. This might feel a bit strange in your mouth, especially if you’re used to the soft, starchy feeling of cooked taro. But if you like crunchy, fresh veggies, you might actually enjoy the unique texture of uncooked taro.

While it’s cool to try the flavor of raw taro, it’s important to know that eating uncooked taro can sometimes cause some not-so-fun side effects.

Taro has something called calcium oxalate in it, which can make your mouth and throat feel like they’re stinging or burning. In some cases, it can even cause more serious health problems. So, while it’s okay to take a small nibble of raw taro to see what it tastes like, it’s best to stick to cooked taro when you’re actually eating it.

To really enjoy the yummy flavor and all the cool things you can do with taro, it’s best to cook it. It’s the cooked version that really shows off just how amazing this tropical root veggie can be.

Cooked Taro Taste

When you cook taro, suddenly, that mild, slightly sweet taste you noticed when it was raw becomes more pronounced, and the taro takes on a delightfully nutty, almost buttery flavor.

As the heat works its magic, the natural sugars in the taro caramelize, intensifying its inherent sweetness. This creates a flavor that’s reminiscent of a sweet potato, but with a distinct nuttiness that sets it apart. Imagine the satisfying taste of a freshly baked sweet potato, combined with the rich, earthy notes of a chestnut – that’s the cooked taro flavor experience in a nutshell.

Cooking also dramatically changes the texture of taro, turning it from firm and waxy to soft, starchy, and wonderfully creamy. In fact, many people compare the texture of cooked taro to that of a perfectly cooked potato – fluffy on the inside, with a slightly crispy exterior (depending on your cooking method, of course).

This similarity in texture makes taro a fantastic substitute for potatoes in many dishes. Whether you’re mashing it, roasting it, or using it as a base for a creamy soup, cooked taro can bring a unique twist to your favorite potato-based recipes.

The beauty of cooked taro’s flavor profile is that it pairs well with a wide range of other ingredients. Its subtle sweetness complements the savory notes in meat dishes, while its nuttiness adds depth to vegetarian and vegan recipes. You can even use cooked taro in sweet dishes, like desserts and milk tea, where its natural sweetness and creamy texture can really shine.

What Does Taro Taste Like? A Flavor Profile If You’ve Never Tried It

Taro in Sweet Dishes

One of the most iconic taro-based sweet treats is undoubtedly taro bubble tea, which led me down the taro rabbit hole in the first place!

This Taiwanese beverage has taken the world by storm, and for good reason. The combination of sweet, nutty taro, creamy milk, and chewy tapioca pearls is simply irresistible. The result is a thick, velvety smooth drink that’s bursting with flavor.

Another popular taro dessert is ice cream. Taro’s naturally creamy texture and subtle sweetness make it the perfect base for this cool, refreshing treat. Many ice cream shops now offer taro as a flavor option, but you can also make it at home using cooked and mashed taro, cream, sugar, and your choice of milk. The result is a delightfully purple-hued ice cream with a unique, nutty flavor that’s sure to become a new favorite.

Taro’s possibilities in the dessert world are endless. You can find taro flavored cakes, pastries, and even cookies. Taro can also be used as a filling for sweet buns, mooncakes, and other traditional Asian desserts.

Yum!

Taro in Savory Dishes

One of the most popular ways to enjoy taro in a savory setting is in soups and stews. Taro’s starchiness helps thicken broths and adds a creamy, satisfying texture that’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Taro soup, a staple in many Asian cuisines, showcases the root’s ability to shine in a simple yet flavorful dish. Chunks of tender taro simmer in a fragrant broth, often with pork or seafood, creating a bowl of pure comfort.

But why stop at soups? Taro makes a fantastic addition to stews as well. Its dense flesh holds up well to longer cooking times, absorbing the rich flavors of the meat and vegetables it’s cooked with. Taro stew, a beloved Hawaiian dish, features big chunks of taro simmered with tender meat and savory seasonings until everything melds together in a big pot of deliciousness.

Here’s a fun fact: taro can be used as a substitute for potatoes in pretty much any savory dish. Yep, you read that right! Taro’s starchy texture and subtle sweetness make it a great stand-in for spuds. Mashed taro? Yum. Taro fries? Oh yeah. Taro hash browns? You betcha.

But taro doesn’t just mimic potatoes – it brings its own unique flair to these classic dishes. Its slightly nutty flavor adds an extra layer of complexity that’ll make your taste buds sit up and take notice. Plus, its pretty purplish hue (in some varieties) can add a pop of color to your plate.

Taro Taste Comparisons

Does Taro Taste Like Sweet Potato?

When cooked, taro tastes something quite similar to that of sweet potato. Taro is like a more vanilla-flavored, floral-tasting sweet potato.

It is also dependent on the way that the taro is prepared because fried and roasted taro tastes very similar to that of sweet potato.

Does Taro Taste Like Coconut?

Flavors of foods can taste different from person to person.

For some people, taro boba resembles a mild chocolate flavor. Others can taste caramel, coconut, or vanilla.

That being said, others describe the taste of the tea as nutty, milky, creamy, or buttery.

While taro doesn’t have any coconut flavor to it, it actually pairs really well with coconut. Taro has a plain, nutty, vanilla flavor to it, which is really complimented well when paired with coconut.

Does Taro Taste Like Tea?

There isn’t much of a similar taste to normal tea from taro boba. But let me explain.

Normally, when you order a taro milk tea, there won’t be any tea present in the drink. Taro boba tea can be made with just the root mixed with milk. In this instance, there is nothing in the drink that would give it a tea flavor.

While taro milk tea has an earthy tone from the nutty flavor of the root, this flavor is quite different to the earthy tones which you find in regular tea.

However, if you order a taro milk tea with a tea base (for example, ceylon or green tea), then that will certainly explain why it tastes similar to tea.

What Is Taro Milk Tea?

As you already know, taro can be used in many dishes. In fact, it can be eaten as a dessert. Or be an ingredient for drinks. The taro root can be used to make tea, cocktails, or even a taro smoothie.

A popular way of using taro root is in dessert drinks, aka milk teas.

What Does Taro Taste Like? A Flavor Profile If You’ve Never Tried It

What Does Taro Milk Tea Taste Like?

There are many different profiles for which taro milk tea has. The main flavors are sweet, nutty, and vanilla flavored. Depending on where your taro milk tea is being made, you might get different tasting notes for each place.

Below I will run through the flavor profile of each of the strongest flavors in which people have tasted from taro milk tea.

Sweet

There are many different tasting notes to taro tea. but above all, you should know it tastes super sweet.

Many people describe it as tasting like the leftover milk from a bowl of lucky charms, white chocolate, caramel, or melted marshmallow.

Others have said it tastes like Captain Crunch or cake flavored. Cookies and cream or buttered popcorn jelly beans are other flavor profiles that have been used to describe the taro boba taste.

Nutty

The nutty flavor of taro milk tea resembles a nut that is quite fatty – similar to an enriched, earthy mix of pecan and walnut.

Vanilla

Vanilla is another strong flavor that is given off when tasting taro. The vanilla flavor makes taro perfect for making ice cream or even taro-flavored mochi.

Why Is The Taste Of Taro Milk Tea So Familiar?

It has often been said that when people try it for the first time, they recognize the taste of taro for some reason. This may be because taro is actually sometimes used in baby food!

So, people have recognized the flavor from back when they were a toddler. This recognition almost brings a nostalgic element, which I think almost enhances the flavor.

Also, as previously mentioned, taro milk tea has more of a nutty, sweet, vanilla-like flavor. If you usually drink your tea with lots of creamer, sugar and milk, then you may find some similar tastes to tea that would come from these additions.

How Is Taro Bubble Tea Made?

If you are buying your tea from a boba shop, these shops will usually produce the drink using taro powder. You can even produce taro milk tea from home if you purchase this:

  1. Firstly, bring some water to a boil, and once it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to a medium-high level. If adding in any type of tea, such as green, it needs to be added here. This creates a different taro bubble milk tea flavor if you are up for trying it! Green tea is a great addition to taro bubble milk tea so make sure you give this a go too!
  2. After having boiled the water with the tea leaves for three to five minutes, remove it from the heat source.
  3. While the tea is still hot, add in the taro powder (2 teaspoons). Stir until all the powder has completely dissolved in the tea. This will serve as your base for the taro bubble milk tea.
  4. There are different variations of how to proceed depending on your tea preferences. For example, honey, sugar, or condensed milk can be added to sweeten the tea. Here you can also add in whatever your favorite milk is – whether it’s cows’ milk, almond, oat, or coconut, they all taste good. If you like coconut milk, make sure to give this a go – coconut milk pairs really well with taro!
  5. Finally, you can add ice cubes to cool your drink and tapioca pearls will add an extra pump of excitement to your drink! If you want to find out more on how to cook your own tapioca pearls, I have written a short recipe on how to cook tapioca pearls in our Hokkaido milk tea recipe.

Is Taro Healthy?

There are many different health benefits to consuming taro root.

Firstly, taro root is rich in fiber, magnesium, vitamin B6, and potassium. The starch content and high fiber are great for controlling blood sugar levels, while decreasing the risk of heart diseases.

For those who are trying to lose weight, taro is great because it keeps people feeling fuller for longer. That being said, if you are trying to lose weight, it is recommended you order this tea without any sugar in it. This will help to decrease the calorie content.

Taro is also a great substitute for potatoes or other high-calorie carbohydrates because taro is naturally lower in calories. Taro is good for digestion and can help to improve poor digestion. Once again, it is important that if you are drinking taro milk tea for the health benefits, you should order your drink without any sugar in it.

For more information on the health benefits of taro milk tea, check out this video below!

What Does Taro Taste Like – Explained!

If you haven’t tried taro and taro milk tea already, hopefully, this description will have compelled you to try this delicious tea! This deliciously nutty, sweet, vanilla-flavored boba is such a treat. And thanks to the (nearly nonexistent) caffeine levels, can be enjoyed at any stage of the day!

Let me know what you think of this tasty drink in the comments, or if you’ve any other additions to the tea I’ve missed out on, I want to hear about it!

FAQs

What Is Taro?

Taro is a root vegetable similar to that of sweet potato that has the texture of potato due to its starchiness. If fried or roasted Taro has a sweet and vanilla flavor profile, similar to that of sweet potato.

What Flavor Goes With Taro?

Taro pairs the best with coconut. If you add taro to plain flavors such as coconut yogurt (or even normal yogurt), it truly enhances the flavor. If you add taro to sweeter dishes, such as mooncakes or pudding, it helps to balance the sugar while adding texture to the dish.

What Does Taro Smell Like?

If taro has been fried or roasted, it smells very similar to that of sweet potato or parsnip. Boiled or mashed taro root is more similar to normal potato prepared in the same way.

Does Taro Have Caffeine?

Fresh taro does not naturally contain caffeine. Unless your order contains a real type of tea such as black or green tea, the caffeine content of taro milk tea is nonexistent.

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Categorized as Journal

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind CooksDream.com, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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