Arepas: what is an arepa and why you want to taste one.
If you have been checking our website you might have found some traces of latinity!
Now, our latin roots are even more present in our website and in our new product line: Arepa Shop!
Introducing Arepa Shop.
Arepa shop is Alma's concept to celebrate the Latin Roots and a multicultural world. Arepa Shop Amsterdam mixes two worlds loved by one soul.
Now, you might be wondering what is an arepa and why is it so significant.
We want to tell you everything we know about arepas, where they come from, what they mean to the northern latin culture, why you should try and arepa and why are they so important to us, Alma catering Amsterdam.
What is an Arepa?
So let's start with the basics. What's an arepa? An arepa is a dough formed into a patty. Most arepas are made of white cornmeal, water and salt.
You first mix the ingredients in a bowl then you make a nice round dough ball, then you press it into a flat round piece of dough, a patty, and Voila! there you have your Arepa! You might be thinking it looks like a pita! yes, you are right! it does but it tastes better, if you ask me ;)
When you have your arepas ready! then you cook them, some people deep fried them and others, like us grilled them. The arepa grilling process looks like this:
Then when they are warm and ready you serve them as shown in this picture.
How do you eat Arepas?
Well, that's a great question because different people eat them differently. Although, there are a couple of trends very much related to the country where the eater comes from.
Let's start with the basics. You can use them like bread! just to eat that salsa or salsita you like so much!
Salsitas like these, for example. Spicy sauce, guasacaca an avocado-ish sauce that's really amazing or the famous Colombian hogao!
Let's learn from the best arepa eaters! Colombians and Venezuelans, same family couple of hundred years ago, still kind of like siblings fighting all the time but deep inside they love each other.
How do they eat Arepas in Venezuela?
Arepas in Venezuela are eaten usually split open and filled in with delicious ingredients, they can be grilled or fried!
By the way, split them open only when your arepas are warm, otherwise they brake!
ok. Where were we... So, Venezuelans... They have their traditional fillings. These fillings even have names, and everywhere you go that name corresponds to that same mix of ingredients or type of filling.
But really you can put in your arepa anything you like!
We encourage you to try different combinations! this mix of tastes can really surprise you.
Here couple of examples of how Venezuelans eat them!
Some of the most famous Arepa fillings are:
1. Reina pepiada, which is a mix of chicken, onions, avocado and mayonnaise among other ingredients.
2. Carne mechada (Shredded beef)
3. Domino. This is basically black beans and white cheese.
4. Pollo guisado (Shredded chicken)
5. Arepa pelu'a. Shredded steak and cheddar cheese.
6. Tuna arepa (fried arepa filled in with tuna fish)
Arepas are there for every taste!
Let's now move to Colombia!
How do they eat Arepas in Colombia?
In Colombia, in Medellin for example, Paisas, refering to Colombians born in the region where Medellin is located, Antioquia, Paisas eat them with butter on top and some quesito! Queso paisa. So white young cheese made in Antioquia.
Also, in Colombia very often you find cheese in the arepa. Wait what... yes! INSIDE the arepa. So when they make them, they put cheese in the ball and then they flatten the arepita. and on the grill!
When your arepita is ready you bite it to find this delicious melted cheese!
In the northern part of Colombia, in the caribbean, around Cartagena, they put an egg inside the arepa and then they deep fry it!
This taste is indescribable, something you just need to try in Colombia!
And there are many other variations because as we know latins are very creative.
And last but not least! Let me introduce the cachapa or arepa de choclo. The arepa loved by everyone, Colombians, Venezuelas and the world!
This arepa is more like a pancake if you want to compare it with something. It is a bit sweet! Made of corn, this is the latin pancake.
You can eat it on its own or like in Venezuela, adding all the ingredients you like on it!
It is really delicious this cachapa.
But wait we don't know yet where the arepa comes from!
What are the origins of the Arepa?
There has always been this eternal colombo-venezuelan fight about who arepas original creator is.
Well, the truth is we just know the arepa is a pre-Columbian dish from the area that is now Venezuela and Colombia. Instruments used to make flour for arepas; for example: clay slabs were often found at archaeological sites in the area. Although, it has not been specified in which country an arepa was cooked for the first time, it has been possible to define the oldest dates of the presence of maize in Colombia and in Venezuela. For example, In Colombia, the first record of the existence of corn dates from about 3,000 years ago, while in Venezuela the estimate is about 2,800 years ago. In other words, the creation of the arepa most likely happened almost simultaneously in both countries, but well before either territory became a country with borders1.
Nowadays, Arepas are also eaten in Panama, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and the Canary Islands, among others.
When to eat arepas?
This one is easy! Arepas can be eaten at any time. In the morning, at lunch, as a snack or at night!
Arepas always fit because they match easily with any taste. In the morning you can have them with huevos rancheros or scramble tofu. or just cheese!
For lunch you can put there anything you like! and they are just delicious. If you like meat or if you are vegan, there are tons of options that will delight your day.
Dinner, same situation! choose your ingredients and voilá there you have a tasty option to make you feel cozy!
We deliver in Amsterdam, so if this is your city, count with us!
Why are arepas so important to us?
Arepas are important to us! They represent our latin roots, our love for home, for our traditions, our tropico and the heat of our tierra. The Netherlands and Amsterdam is home now! Amsterdam is for us freedom, a bike ride, openness, a chance to reinvent ourselves, to be creative and to be whatever you we want to be! We love it and want to mix and match a bit of the heat of there with the freedom here, and more importantly we want to share it with anybody that's willing to try. You know what they say: Sharing is caring! and believe us we feel and we care! We want you to try and perhaps find those tastes that remind you of home if you are a latin or lived lived in Latin America and remind you the love you were given or perhaps to discover new tastes and with them, new realities and may be a new love.
We want amsterdamers and all of those living in this city to discover the amazing explosion of taste that arepas are and the different combinations you can make!
We hope you now have a better understanding of what an arepa is ;) if there's anything you really feel we need to add here please reach out.
Arepa Shop menu is all about latin food, traditional arepas and vegan arepas, there is something for everyone!
Arepas with shredded beef, chicken and the reina (chicken & avocado)
We believe in a world that can be just fine and happy having a plant based diet! We understand eating plant-based can be challenging but with a bit of creativity it is possible.
We have some vegan arepas that have ingredients like jack fruit, pulled oats and tofu rancheros. These ingredients are the focus of these arepas and another proof how eating vegan can be also fun! you can mix everything with everything and find the one you like the most.
Well we hope you give arepas a chance and if you already know them, keep enjoying them.
With us you can find an array of latin food that can be delivered in Amsterdam! take a look at our menu and chat with us if you have questions or want to share your love.
Arepas hand-made with in Amsterdam!
Arepa shop By Alma catering Amsterdam.
Sources 1. "¿De dónde es la arepa realmente: venezolana o colombiana?" Patricia Sulbaran, 2017.