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AQ Feature

Spreading the Arepa Love

Andreina Seijas checks out a Washington, D.C. eatery bringing Venezuelan flavors to U.S. palettes.
Worth the wait: Customers line up to get their favorites. Photo: Arepazone

Over the past decade, hungry U.S. diners have increasingly grown to love the Venezuelan take on a popular dish introduced by Latin American immigrants: grilled cornmeal patties called arepas that are stuffed with everything from cheese to pork to fried plantains.

New York City has at least one Venezuelan restaurant serving arepas in each of its five boroughs, and arepa aficionados can now get their fix from Beverly Hills to Miami, but until recently it was absent from the nation’s capital. That is, until the popular food truck ArepaZone made its D.C. debut last spring.

ArepaZone owners Gabriela Febres and Ali Arellano aren’t novices. In 2012, they created Antojitos de tu país, a website that distributes Venezuelan cheese, sweets, snacks, and other food goods nationwide. But the growth of the Venezuelan diaspora in D.C. persuaded them to move beyond cyberspace to the streets. “Food trucks are very popular in Washington these days,” explains Febres, “That’s why we decided to open our own, to begin spreading the arepa love in the city.”

Today, customers from all over the world wait in line for their arepas. “A couple of months into the business, we already felt like Americans were born eating our food,” said Arellano.

The truck also offers fresh corn pancakes topped with cheese, fried cheese sticks, and 13 types of arepas. You can’t go wrong with ArepaZone’s most popular option, the Sifrina, stuffed with chicken salad, avocado and cheddar cheese. ¡Buen provecho!

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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Venezuelan food, Arepas, Venezuela

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