I suspect every culture has their own burger/sandwich-like food: Hearty, inexpensive, easy to prepare, consistent with meat in between fl…
In Venezuela, we have:
Arepas are a sort of bread made of corn flour, which can take on pretty much any filling. Venezuelans usually have them for breakfast, but they can definitely also make a lunch or dinner. They’ve been considered the most nutritious breakfast in the world . The most notable fillings are :
- Reina pepiada (spotted queen): avocado and chicken, with mayonnaise and oil. My favorite!
- Pelua (hairy): grated cheese and shredded beef.
- Catira (blonde): grated cheese and shredded chicken. Same principle as the pelua.
- Dominó (domino’s): grated fresh cheese (queso blanco) and black beans.
- Sifrina (snobby): reina pepiada with added fresh cheese.
- Perico (parakeet): scrambled eggs with diced onions and tomatoes.
- Pabellón (no translation—traditional dish): shredded meat, grated fresh cheese, black beans, and fried sweet plantain.
- Rompecolchón (mattress breaker): mixed mussels.
- Llanera (from the Llanos or planar Venezuelan region): grilled steak stripes, tomato, avocado, and fresh cheese.
Most of the fillings require some preparation (the shredded meat and chicken, black beans…), but generally Venezuelans prepare them and store them in the fridge, so the process of preparing the filling to eat an arepa is quite quick. As for the actual arepa, the dough is a mixture of flour and water, whuch is then run through a grill for some 5–10 minutes and (optionally) the oven for another 10.
Made with virtually the same flour, empanadas differ from arepas in that they are stuffed before cooking, and are then deep-fried (to be fair, arepas are often also deep-fried). The filling can be pretty much anything:
- Some are the same as with arepas (pabellón, dominó)
- Some are simple (fresh cheese, shredded beef or chicken)
- Some are made of seafood (mussels, dogfish, shrimp), since empanadas are traditional from coastal cities.
Finally, patacones are made with two covers of fried green plantain (tostones), and stuffed with ground or shredded beef (optionally chicken or pork), avocado, grated fresh cheese, poached eggs, ham, and vegetables.
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