What Are Colombian Arepas?

In the age of gluten-free and health-conscious eaters, we can learn a lot from our past.

Some of the most delicious food staples have been around for hundreds of years and there’s no need to change them!

Arepas are one of the yummiest treats to come out of Central and South America and they can be eaten in a variety of ways.

Keep reading to find out what arepas are, where they came from, and how to eat them!

Where Did They Originate?

Colombian Arepas with assorted fillings
Arepas from Colombia

Arepas are made in many Central and South American countries but are known in particular for their role in Venezuelan and Colombian cuisine.

While it originated in the northern Andes of South American, variations of it are now made in Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and other Latin countries. But where did it begin?

The answer is we can’t know for sure. Colombia and Venezuela used to be a part of the same country known as “Gran Colombia.”

Ecuador and Panama were part of the same area. Because the arepa originated here, it’s hard to say exactly which country is responsible.

There is evidence that dates back to both countries making arepas for thousands of years. Individuals from both countries have argued that it originated with them, but most Latin Americans have agreed it’s a staple and an origin for Latin American culture as a whole.

Read article: 17 Best Colombian Food Dishes You Should Try Right Now

What Are Arepas?

Venezuelan arepas with corn and flour on table

An arepa is a flat, round, cornmeal cake. They resemble English muffins or pitas only that they are often stuffed with many different fillings.

The name arepa came from the Indigenous form of the name, “erepa,” which means “corn.” Originally, they were eaten as a bread or as a side.

But now they are served as a main dish and are topped or stuffed with a variety of meats, cheeses, and vegetables.

How Is Colombia’s Arepa Different?

Colombia and Venezuela are known for their arepas more than any other countries.

Venezuelan arepas are usually deep-fried or grilled and then split and served as a sandwich. Some of the fillings you might find in a Venezuelan arepa are:

  • Shredded beef
  • Black beans and cheese
  • Chicken and avocado
  • Shredded chicken
  • Shredded fish

Along the Caribbean coast, Colombian arepas are often deep fried with egg inside. They aren’t very different from Venezuelan arepas except that they are more often served with cheese or egg or both.

While there are some differences one commonality is that both countries love to use the same corn meal, Harina P.A.N. This brand of corn meal is overwhelmingly the #1 choice to make the perfect arepa.

You can buy it at Amigofoods or Amazon.

What Is the Best Arepa?

Various filled areas on wooden table
Various Filled Arepas

We’ve never met an arepa we didn’t like. In fact, they can be eaten with almost anything. You can toast them for breakfast and add egg and cheese or butter and jam for something sweet.

Learn More About Colombia

Want to know more about Colombian dishes? Check out our blog and find a Colombian recipe you can try today.

And one thing is for sure: Colombia is known for its flavor. In fact, it is often argued that the best coffee comes from Colombia.

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