5 Things you didn't know about arepas


Arepas have been there for centuries (literally) but it’s only in the last few years that they have started becoming really popular all around the world due to a series of events that have made Venezuelans and Colombians migrate overseas.

From being ‘awarded’ Best breakfast in the world by online publication Thrillist.com in 2014 from a list of 18 contestants all the way to having multiple feature articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, the arepa has without a doubt become now one of those street foods that is a must-have in any cosmopolitan city.

Arepas have also been featured on Master Chef (the American version) where Venezuelan Chef Alejandro Toro left Gordon Ramsay and the rest of the panel in complete ‘Awe’. You can watch the full video here.

Even SBS Australia wrote an article where the feature how arepas are becoming the next great street food in Australia, and business insider made this really cool video titled ‘This Venezuelan street food is like a taco but better’ which you can watch below.

Nowadays you can easily find an arepa stall or restaurant in cities like Sydney, Madrid, London, New York, Melbourne, Barcelona and LA.

But before I keep talking about the great success arepas have been having worldwide, I want to answer a few questions that people commonly ask in their emails:

  1. What is an arepa?
  2. What are arepas made of?
  3. Where are arepas from?
  4. What are some traditional arepa recipes?
  5. Where can I get arepas from?

 1. What is an arepa?

Here is an image of what you are in for, need I say more?

I really think there is no point in explaining what something looks and tastes like. I much better option is to have a look at this image and find out where to get one near you.

2. What are arepas made out of?

You’ll be surprised to know that arepas are made simply out of water, cornmeal and salt. That’s it. The fillings may vary depending on who’s eating them, but in its original form they are gluten-free and vegan.

The production of maize is unusual for not using the nixtamalization (alkali cooking process) to remove the pericarp of the kernels. All this means is that arepa flour different from masa flour, which is used to make tortillas.

The most popular brand names of maize flour is Harina PAN.

Which leads me onto the next question.

3. Where are arepas from?

Well, this one can be argued. Arepas are from a general area that encompasses both Colombia and Venezuela. This are used to be known as the Great Colombia centuries ago. However, it is now two separate countries as you already know.

Colombian arepas are made differently than the Venezuelan ones. Colombian arepas are thinner and are not usually filled with anything, whereas Venezuelan arepas are a bit thicker and are filled with whatever you choose.

However, they are both made with the same type of corn flour and taste pretty much the same.

In this post I will focusing on Venezuelan arepas so the recipes you’ll see below are for… you guessed it: Venezuelan arepas.

4. Traditional Venezuelan arepa recipes

The most traditional arepa (filling) recipes include shredded beef, chicken avo salad and black beans and cheese. They all have their traditional names which I’ll do my best translate below:

There are countless combinations of of arepa fillings so I have added the ones I have found to be the most popular online. I think this will be a topic for a whole new post anyways.

5. Where can I get arepas from?

And of course after all these yummy arepa images and recipes, you might be wondering ‘where do I get them from?’

I’m glad you ask.

If you are in Sydney, your best bet would be to come check out our shop on 147 Enmore Rd 2042.Guaranteed you won't be disappointed.

If you are anywhere else in the world, I would suggest visiting this really cool website called ‘Locos por las arepas’ or Crazy about arepas in english and browsing though. It is a full directory of most arepa shops worldwide. I do have to say that I was pretty impressed when I first saw the map and all the places where you can get an arepa from all around the globe.

This is the first one of a series of posts I will start writing regarding anything arepa related, so I would love to hear some suggestions of things you would like to read about at contact@arepa.com.au

Would you like to find out where to get an arepa from this weekend in Sydney?