Arepas, The Venezuelan Corn Bread
TocToc Arepas making fresh arepas at the West Palm Beach GreenMarket

Thanks to the rich Hispanic culture that is woven throughout much of South Florida, you’ve likely heard the word “arepa” or perhaps even seen one. But have you ever tried the wildly popular and delicious Arepas, the Venezuelan corn bread? If not, you’re missing out one of the tastiest Latin American food.

Arepa is sort of a round corn bread disc that’s cut open and stuffed with ingredients. It came from Venezuela hundreds of years ago and once everyone tasted the deliciousness, it spread like wildfire. It’s very popular in Venezuela and Colombia.

Venezuelans eat their arepas as a snack or late night food. Many people compare this bread to an English muffin. They are often stuffed with savory fillings like shredded beef, black beans, fresh cheese, etc.

As arepa restaurants, called areperas, began becoming more commonplace, that’s when the arepa became something beyond its already extraordinary existence. Much like sandwiches, there’s really no wrong way to fill an arepa, though it should be noted that arepas without fillings are called “widows.”

You’ll find arepas in a variety of sizes. Some are the size of silver dollar pancakes while others are bigger, like burgers. They also come in varying degrees of thickness. Some are baked, some are fried, and some are grilled over hot coals. It’s really hard to have a bad arepa experience. Try them plain, with butter, or with cheese.

Arepas, The Venezuelan Corn Bread

Traditionally, arepas were made by indigenous tribes in Venezuela by shucking corn and then allowing them to dry and preserve. Now most people these days buy ready-made corn flour and make their own arepas. Others will seek them out at areperas, which have become widely spread in Florida, to get pretty tasty arepas with very little effort.

In Miami, Doggi’s Venezuelan Cuisine is a fantastic place to seek out for an arepa eating experience. It began life as a hot dog food truck but turned into a brick-and-mortar establishment in order to feed its massive (not to mention hungry) customer base. On the menu, you’ll find 23 different types of arepas, all of them overstuffed with incredibly delicious delights.

But if 23 different arepas sounds like a difficult decision to choose from, then head on over to Doral where you’ll find El Arepazo. They have over 70 unique arepas to try. Most of them feature fillings made with traditionally authentic Venezuelan ingredients and dishes like reina pepiada or asado negro. In addition to so many choices, you can create your own perfect arepa by mixing and matching the ingredients.

There’s really no wrong way to eat an arepa.

The general consensus is that just eating one is good enough. Once you try one of these wonderfully soft and flavorful Venezuelan corn breads, you’ll wonder why you never had one sooner. It’s like the next level sandwich, only it’s been around for much longer than you have. That’s OK, most things need to grow into their cool before they become the next big thing.

Arepas, the Venezuelan Corn Bread. Tasty Latin American often stuffed with savory fillings like shredded beef, black beans, fresh cheese, etc.