Off the Beaten Plate: Yuca Frita at La Parrilla

Yuca Frita with spicy aioli at La Parrilla, 814 Massachusetts St.

Yuca Frita with spicy aioli at La Parrilla, 814 Massachusetts St.

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Yuca Frita with spicy aioli at La Parrilla, 814 Massachusetts St.

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In the tropics, yuca — one of several names for the starchy, bland root of the cassava plant — is the third most important source of calories, according to information from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Because yuca is easy to grow, even on marginal land, it’s critical to food security and income generation for many poor families in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Around here, though, things aren’t that socially or economically complicated for the humble tuber.

In its whole form (as opposed to being processed into tapioca), yuca is a novelty found on very few menus. In the Yuca Frita appetizer at La Parrilla, chunks of the potato-like root are fried to a golden brown and served with a dipping pot of spicy aioli.

Where to get it: La Parrilla, 814 Massachusetts St.

What you’ll pay: $5.99 plus tax

Try it with: The spicy aioli — it adds a lot of flavor.

Also on the menu: Latin American dishes such as plantain chips with black bean dip, rice bowls, tacos, chile relleno and Salvadoreña Enchiladas — stuffed with yuca, potatoes and peas. Drinks include horchata and, from the bar, Brazilian Caipirinhas.

— Off The Beaten Plate highlights some of the more exotic, oddly named or inventively concocted (for better or worse) dishes from local menus. Know of an offbeat menu item we should check out? Email food and features reporter Sara Shepherd at sshepherd@ljworld.com. Tweet her at Twitter.com/KCSSara.

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