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Mar 5, 2013 10:00 PM

Best cassava balls (yuca cheese balls) in LA?

Years ago I was really lucky and got to go on a Linblad cruise of the Galapagos (I'm only stating this for reference in case if someone happens to have had the same food item I'm looking for). The trip was awesome in so many ways - but one of them was the lunch buffet in which they had an endless supply of cassave balls (fried yuca wrapped around cheese). My friend and I ate enough of those delectable morsels to cover the cost of our trip ticket. Now, every time I'm in a South American restaurant with cassava balls on the menu, I sample them hoping they will be as good - but they never are. My friend who was with me on the trip is not doing well and I would like to bring him some amazing cassava balls on my next visit if possible. I'm hoping someone can recommend their favorite place to get these. I've tried the ones at Bossa Nova Brazilian and they're not quite good enough. I've also tried the ones at Cafe Brazil and bought a pack of frozen ones from El Camaguey Meat Market that weren't worth the calories (I think they were Goya brand).

I'm handy in the kitchen so if someone has a to-die-for recipe I'm not opposed to making my own. I'm pretty sure I can find yuca - but I would want recommendations as to the best kind of cheese.

I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's answers!

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  1. Are these fried or baked?

    Pan de queso
    is a bread (small rolls) made with yuca flour and cheese. As discussed in this recipe the cheese would be a dry fresh cheese. I'm temped to say the Mexican panela is the best substitute (a slightly rubbery one that softens but doesn't melt under heat), but I'm not positive.
    The other is gracted yuca wrapped around the cheese, and fried. The recipes just say 'queso fresco'

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj

      I've tried so many since being home and the trip was in 2005, so I'm having trouble remembering the details. They were definitely bread-like and not fritter-like so I would guess they would have had to have been baked - but the baked recipes I'm finding have the cheese incorporated rather than in the middle. The ones we had were wetter in the middle, but maybe they were just doughy and I took that for being stuffed? Thanks paulj for the examples!

    2. Hmm... I'm looking up various recipes. Maybe they were baked not fried....

      1. Tara, I can't help you, but I stumbled upon this message board because I too went on the Linblad trip to the Galapagos and fell in love with those cheesy bread balls. I would stock up on them and bring them back to my room for energy after the hikes! I would have taken them home if I could have!! Please let me know if you have found similar ones in LA, or even a recipe that comes close. I'm dying to find them.

        The cheese bread at Fogo de Chao's will have to do for now, it's the closest substitute that I've found.

        4 Replies
        1. re: AForse

          I never found anything that was quite the same. I even tried making my own. Maybe we should write Lindblad with a culinary SOS?

          1. re: Hapgood

            Duplication might just come down to finding the right cheese. And if there are soft centers, the cheese might be in 2 places - grated in the dough, and in a small lump in the middle.

          2. re: AForse

            Lindblad got back to me with the recipe very quickly. It looks like Paulj is right, the secret is in the cheese. I got my yuca flower at El Camaguey market on Venice but the Linblad rep suggests Trader Joes. El Camaguey also has several brands of pan de yuca/ queso in the frozen food section if you want to give those a try. Just don't look at the calories!


            PAN DE YUCA
            CASSAVA BREAD

            2 cups Cassava (Yucca) flour
            2 cups Grated Cheese
            2 each Egg Yolks
            4 Tbsp Butter
            Salt to taste
            Mix all ingredients well so you are able to form the dough and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Preheat oven at 375 F. Created little buns and lay them out on a buttered pan and place in the oven. Let them bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

            Buen Provecho!

            1. re: Hapgood

              They just followed up that they use fresh mozzarella.

          3. Hi Tara,

            I live close to Cafe Brazil. I haven't had any other yuca cheese bread, but I find theirs quite tasty. Here's the link to the website:


            1 Reply
            1. re: maccrogenoff

              Thanks! i've been there several times. Their cheese bread is indeed tasty though different than what I have been searching for.