Arepas (ah-ray-pay-rah), Glossary and Terms, Meat, Fish, Fruit, Grocery Food Stores

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"Arepas (ah-ray-pay-rah)"

Similar to an English muffins but made from precooked corn flour, it is a cornmeal patty or pancake that is considered like bread in other countries. Arepas are popular throughout South America, but especially popular in Colombian and Venezuelan. It is considered the national dish of Venezuela (the local equivalent of an American hamburger). You can find arepas in small restaurants called Areperas. The most famous arepa is La reina pepiada, made with chopped meat, avocado and cheese. The favorite way to serve them in Venezuela is to split them open, remove some of the steaming moist corn meal, and then stuff them with your favorite ingredients. The arepa is wrapped in a square of slick paper (like butcher paper), and handed to the purchaser to eat standing up. Very few people make arepas at home, choosing to buy them at the store or have them delivered directly to their homes. You can also find arepas all over Miami, Florida (the traditional arepa served in Miami has two cornmeal pancakes with a layer of cheese inside).
History: First made by the Indians of Columbia and Venezuela, an important part of their diet just like corn tortillas were to the Aztecs. For many centuries, it was considered a food for the poor. Today they are considered a comfort food for everyone.

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