In my last Fried Friday post, I warned you it would be the last one until I found “a certain elusive yuca pie.” Well, it has finally happened. I went to a fritos stand that had more than just arepas, deditos, empanadas, and papas rellenas: they sell caribañolas.
Truthfully, caribañolas aren’t that unlike the other fried foods commonly found here. It’s a fried food filled with either cheese, beef, or chicken. When I put it that way, they’re all the same. The differences are 1. what is being filled and 2. the shape.
Caribañolas are the only frito made with yucca and the only one made into a torpedo shape. In case you’ve never heard of yucca, you should actually read the first couple paragraphs of the Wikipedia page – the plant is hugely important in feeding the people of developing tropical and subtropical nations. But what’s most important to know is that it is a large starchy tuber. Yucca is always my favorite part of lunch soups here, and yucca fries are so good. It shouldn’t have been any surprise that I would love caribañolas.
As I think about how to describe this, I am salivating. The fried outside has a nice crispness to bit into that instantly reveals super soft and almost creamy cooked yucca inside. There seems to be a bit of a sweetness to it, which is offset by the salty costeño cheese in the center. The flavors go really well with the sauces that fritos stands have on handy – either a nice “spicy” salsa or a liquidy sour cream-like sauce called suero. Man, I wish I weren’t trying to eat healthy right now, I would run for one of these lil’ guys and a sweet mango juice.
I thought for a long time that these were called carimañolas, with an m, and that when I began hearing caribañolas, with a b, that I was mishearing or had been mistaken for 18 months. Turns out, they have different names in different regions. Both are correct. I used the b throughout this post because Wikipedia leads me to believe that was correct for the region in which I live and write.