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Gulaman at Sago (Filipino Gelatin and Tapioca Dessert)

As a child, Edwin's mom told him, "If you want to eat, you should cook it yourself." And that's exactly what he's been doing ever since.

In the Philippines, gulaman at sago is a popular way to cool off.

In the Philippines, gulaman at sago is a popular way to cool off.

What Is Gulaman at Sago?

Gulaman is the Tagalog word for gelatin, and sago is the Tagalog word for pearl tapioca. Due to the warm weather in Asia, cold desserts and snacks made of gelatin and pearl tapioca in syrup are common. Many variations of this dish contain other ingredients, such as fruits or sweet beans, as well.

In this recipe, I include only the basic ingredients of gulaman and sago. Traditionally, the gelatin is made from agar-agar (seaweed). This type of jello is firmer than American jello; however, in this recipe, I've substituted American jello to make it easier for Western readers to find ingredients.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

35 min

45 min

6 servings


  • 1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup sago (tapioca pearls), available at Asian stores
  • 1 cup brown sugar, for the syrup
  • 6 cups water, for boiling the tapioca
  • 2 cups water, for making the syrup
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar, for the gelatin


  1. Prepare the jello according to the packet's directions, but add 1/2 cup white sugar. Pour into a square or rectangular container to cool. Then cut into 1/4 inch squares.
  2. Boil the tapioca pearls in 6 cups of water until the white pearls become translucent. Add more water if needed. The volume of cooked tapioca will increase by about 2 1/2 times the original volume.
  3. Prepare the syrup by putting the brown sugar in a pot and cooking it over low heat until it melts. Then add the 2 cups of water and simmer over low heat until you attain a syrupy consistency. Allow it to cool.
  4. In a glass, add the tapioca, then the jello. Pour the syrup into the mixture. Refrigerate before serving.


  • Add your favorite flavor extract, such as vanilla.
  • Instead of refrigerating, add ice and serve immediately.
  • Add milk or coconut milk before serving.
  • Add other ingredients desired, such as fruits, sweet beans, etc.

Sago (Pearl Tapioca)