Food is a beautiful thing – it connects us all. Through ingredients and dishes, we find commonalities. Not only in how and what we eat but how we live and work and celebrate with our friends, families, and communities. And arepas are one of those magical dishes. A flatbread made with corn flour, griddled, and stuffed, countries across Latin America all have their version of an arepa. Let’s take a look – and enjoy them all.
Arepas are perhaps best known in Venezuela. Here, they’re made with either yellow or white maize, water, and salt (and occasionally butter, eggs, and milk). They're griddled and either stuffed or topped with filling. You’ll find simple arepas with cheese for breakfast or afternoon café or heartier arepas stuffed with a creamy chicken salad and sliced avocados for lunch or dinner.
Mexico’s version of an arepa is a gordita. Here the gorditas are usually made from an instant corn tortilla mix mixed with salt, shortening, and water. Gorditas are thinner than arepas, usually less than half an inch, and are crispier than arepas. They’re usually split and stuffed with chorizo, chicken, or pork.
In Colombia, you’ll find arepas prepared very similarly to Venezuela. Here they’re mostly eaten for breakfast or as a snack and you’ll most commonly find them stuffed with cheese. Melted, gooey, and straight off the griddle, they’re a great street food; try one from every vendor!
In El Salvador, you’ll pupusas. The biggest difference here is that pupusas are usually made with nixtamal or hominy but you’ll also find them made with maseca. They’re also stuffed with a beef or pork filling before they’re cooked, yielding a sort of savory stuffed pancake.