Sago ' is a starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

 extracted in the spongy center or pith, of various tropical palm stems, Metroxylon sagu
Metroxylon sagu
Metroxylon sagu is a species of palm in the genus Metroxylon, native to tropical southeastern Asia in Indonesia , Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and possibly also the Philippines .It is a monocarpic palm growing to 10 m tall or more, with pinnate leaves up to 7 m...

. It is a major staple food
Staple food
A staple food is one that is eaten regularly and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a diet, and that supplies a high proportion of energy and nutrient needs. Most people live on a diet based on one or more staples...

 for the lowland peoples of New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

 and the Moluccas, where it is called saksak and sagu. A type of flour, called sago flour, is made from sago. The largest supply of sago comes from the East Indies
East Indies
East Indies is a term used by Europeans from the 16th century onwards to identify what is now known as Indian subcontinent or South Asia, Southeastern Asia, and the islands of Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago and the Philippines...

. Large quantities of sago are sent to Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 for cooking purposes.