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arepas
Photo: arnold | inuyaki on Flickr

Arepas are small corn cakes that are split and filled or topped and eaten open-face style. While they’re not found in the U.S. in quite the abundance as their flatter cousin, the taco, arepas are just as ubiquitous in their homelands of Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. 

We’ve discovered several preparations of arepa that rival the plumpest burritos and face-fillingest tortas we’ve ever encountered. Craving a chicken salad sandwich with avocado? There’s an arepa for that: Try a reina pepeada, a crisp, fluffy corn cake filled with chicken, mayo, potatoes and avocado. If you’re feeling porkish, the arepa rumbera (for those of you who were paying attention in Spanish, yes, that’s “party arepa”) is filled with roasted pig that’s tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside. One version we’ve clearly commandeered is the arepa con queso guayanés, an arepa stuffed with soft, white cheese similar to mozzarella. And just as we invented Brangelina and TomKat, the Mozzarepa was born.  

However you choose to eat your arepa (keeping in mind that octopus is an option), know that you’re branching out into some seriously delicious territory.