For Colombians like myself, arepas are life. They are small, round corn cakes that come from the pre-Columbian indigenous cultures of Colombia and Venezuela. In fact, the word arepa comes from erepa, the indigenous word for corn. Think of them as the Colombian version of a Mexican gordita, or a Salvadorian pupusa.
There are several Colombian varieties of arepa, from simple ones, topped with butter and salt, to meat, cheese, and/or bean stuffed ones. Each region has their own take on the tasty handheld staple. These 13 arepas are among the most popular in Colombia.
Arepas costeñas are from the Caribbean coast. Often, they are fried, stuffed with eggs, and include greated costeño cheese. They also might be sweetened, with sugar or panela, and include anise.
Arepa Santandereana/de Maiz Pilado
Arepas from Santander are usually made with dried corn, ash, chicharron, and yuca. These grilled arepas are a bright yellow color, because of the corn meal they are made with.
Arepa de Choclo
Arepas de choclo (chocllo/choklo means “corn” in Quechua) are sweet in flavor. These are eaten most commonly in the center of Colombia, in departments such as Antioquia, Santander, and Cudinamarca.
Arepas paisas, or from Antioquia, are more white in color, and do not have any filling or salt. They are made with white hominy corn, and are more thin and crispy than other Colombian arepas.
Arepas vallunas come from Colombia’s Valle de Cauca. They are made with corn flour, can be filled with meat, and are slathered with butter.
Arepa de Huevo
Some arepas are stuffed with yummy goodness. This includes the arepa de huevo (egg stuffed arepa), which is made on the Caribbean coast of Colombia.
Arepas Boyancense are from the Boyaca department of Colombia. These arepas are made with corn and flour, include sugar or panela, and are filled with Colombian quesito.
Arepa de Queso
What’s better than an arepa? One filled with cheese. Colombian arepas de queso are similar to Salvadorian pupusas, although they sometimes are not sealed.
Arepa de Yuca
We Colombians love yuca (cassava). We fry it, stew it, make pan de yuca with it, and also include it in our arepas.
Arepuelas, native to the Atlantic coast of Colombia, tend to be smaller in size and thinner, which makes them crispy. They can be either sweet or savory, depending on the ingredients and are called anisitas when containing anise.
Arepitas fritas are smaller than other arepas. Another difference is that are these are fried, instead of grilled or baked.
Arepas de Platano Maduro
Another sweet option for arepas are arepas de platano maduro. They are made with ripe plantains, and include a little bit of sugar to further sweeten the treat.
Arepa domino looks how you would imagine—black and white. The domino part of this stuffed treat comes from white cheese and black beans.