A recent phenomenon in Ecuador’s large cities, Quito and Guayaquil, has been the commercialization of small shops and street stands that sell Yogurt with Pan de Yuca (Yuca/Cassava bread). Several chains have expanded all over these cities and have turned the very simple snack into a sort of Starbuck’s convenience.
Part bakery and part yogurt shop, the small restaurants have expanded all over the metropolitan areas. Prices are cheap and the meal is filling, healthy, and still light. In its most basic form the shops sell a combo of a fruit flavored yogurt and a small side of yuca bread (which has some cheese in it and is generally in ball form. The bread is made fresh on site and its sweet aromas fill the stores. The more advanced chains have slightly expanded the menus by adding bite sized ham and cheese sandwiches (smaller than a slider) and croissants.
Common Yogurt Flavors Include: mora (blackberry), durazno (peach), frutilla (strawberry), mango, naranjilla, vanilla, banano (banana), guanabana, guayaba, natural, arazá, coco, tomate de arbol (tree tomato), and maracuya (passionfruit).
Yogurt and Pan de Yuca Chains in Ecuador:
–Yogurt de la Amazonas: This Quito based chain is the largest and most advanced. The name relates to the original location that was located on Avenida Amazonas, not the Amazon rainforest like many believe (though many of the yogurt flavors are based on Amazonian fruits).
Recipe: Pan de Yuca (Yuca Bread)
-1 cup tapioca flour, plus extra for kneading
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-2 cups grated, fresh white cheese (find in Latin American aisle)
-2-3 tablespoons cream
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
-Line baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray
-Combine the tapioca flour and baking powder together in a large bowl
-Stir in the cheese and egg yolks
-Mix until the dough forms a ball
-Knead the dough on a floured surface until the dough is smooth
-Roll dough into balls (should make about 10)
-Place balls 1-inch apart on the baking sheet
-Bake until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes
-Cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes and serve while warm
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.