Last spring I profiled one of my favorite places to eat in Astoria, Pão de Queijo on 30th Street, near Broadway. This eminently likable, relaxed take-out/dine-in Brazilian restaurant is also home to one of the best bites in a neighborhood with no shortage of standout snacks. The Coxinha de Frango com Catupiry, a fried croquette filled with potato, chicken and cheese, is a perfect in-between meal snack, or a fine accompaniment to Pão de Queijo’s unbeatable Da Casa Sandwich or their addictive series of “X Burgers.”
Coxinha is Portuguese for “little chicken thigh” and refers to the shape of fried croquette. It is stuffed with silky smooth mashed potato, shredded seasoned chicken–Frango means chicken in Portuguese–and creamy Catupiry cheese. The Catipury, a type of requeijão, or soft cheese, popular in Brazil, is the real star of this croquette. And since it is never quite evenly dispersed through the recipe, it proves a welcome surprise when you reach that bite. If you become as enthralled with the Catipury as I am, you can purchase small jars of it at Rio Market, a bright, busy, well-stocked Brazilian Market on 36th Avenue.
Astoria’s Brazilian food scene is thriving, with new restaurants like Carioca Grill on Broadway opening and old favorites like Point Brazil and Copacabana going strong. Whether you have yet to explore it, or are already a fan, Pão de Queijo’s Coxinha de Frango com Catupiry will ensure that you will continue seeking out and celebrating Brazilian cuisine in Astoria.