¡Viva La Arepa!
Enjoying it for breakfast, having it as a side dish during lunch and dinner or simply craving for it as a snack at any time – la arepa.
Arepa for some people is the Latin American version for an English muffin, a pancake, a corn patty or for a sandwich. But experiencing the taste once in your life you will notice that it is something unique. The dough is out of ground corn or precooked corn flour and as preparation they get either baked, grilled or sometimes even fried. The variety of arepa is immense but one typical character is the round flattened form itself and the basic ingredients added to the flour are just water and salt.
The term arepa comes from the indigenous word erepa, which means corn; two well-known versions are the arepa colombiana and the arepa venezuelana, based on their countries of origin of this tasty food. In Venezuela, a typical form of eating arepas is to enjoy them like a sandwich with basically anything inside, e.g. cheese, beans, avocado, or beef. One typical Colombian variation is the arepa de huevo, where they position an egg inside as stuffing and then fry it for a few minutes. In general, a common way to prepare them is crunchy from the outside and soft from inside which suits well to place additional ingredients on top or else with a bit of butter or simply nothing. Beside that they rather have other distinctions of the dough in Colombia, for example, between the different sorts of corn they use. Apart from the usual white corn flour, there is the option to work with the yellow sweet corn, which provides a very different taste. Another version is the paste mixed with cheese inside, or as an additional alternative way you might want to try the dough based on yucca instead.
Where to eat this delicious little corn bread? Although they are common in Colombia and Venezuela you can find them in other Latin American countries as well or even at some other places worldwide where they become famous nowadays. Typically, you will find them in the street prepared in a food truck or simply on a grill, otherwise people cook them at home and sell them on the bus or anywhere. Additionally, they are served in restaurants or it is possible to buy them packaged in the supermarket. However, the fresh ones are the best.
Written by Xenia Sauer – Study Visitor in Communication at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and student in the Master program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. She holds a Bachelor degree in Sustainable Tourism and speaks German, English, Spanish and French.