When I was in Bogota, Colombia, I had the fortunate experience to try arepas. Arepas are a staple meal item in Colombia and Venezuela and they’re available through-out the country.

What exactly are arepas?

Arepas from Colombia are corn cakes, similar to biscuits in appearance, that are filled with a mixture of ingredients, often cheese, meat, egg and spices. Sometimes the ingredients are placed on top of the corn cake.

My delicious experience with Arepas in Colombia

I was choosing flights to fly back to the United States for my cousins wedding recently when an opportunity jumped out at me. I could either have a long layover in Miami (no thanks, boring) or I could have a long layover in Bogota, Colombia. I chose Bogota and my layover was for 12 hours. Awesome!

Living in El Salvador, I’m exposed to a lot of latin foods. Unfortunately, Colombian food isn’t one of them because Colombian food isn’t represented at restaurants here. I’m not sure why. So, when I had the chance to explore Bogota, Colombia, I was very excited to try Arepas for my first time.

I Tasted Arepas in 3 Different Places in Colombia

It turns out, Arepas are incredibly good if you buy them from a quality place. The first place I ordered them from, I didn’t know what to ask for. I asked for “Arepas” and the guys responded… “Which kind?”, which made me feel kind of stupid. I didn’t know that arepas came in different flavors and I didn’t know which flavors they offered. So, I just asked for beef.

He warmed up two arepas and gave them to me. However, I wasn’t fond of the first Arepas that they gave me. The beef had a weird consistency, the egg lacked flavor and the texture was too oily. I wasn’t impressed.

So, I left the restaurant being unsure what just happened. Did I get a bad batch? Was this truly what arepas were like? Is there a better place to buy them?

After walking around the city for a bit I built up a small appetite and was ready to give arepas a try again. I found a little restaurant that was selling arepas and I ordered more.

The arepas were significantly better at the second restaurant

These ones were fantastic. The arepas were so good that I ordered more. They were fresh, the ingredients were flavorful and the green salsa added some heat and flavor that I’ve never had before. It was like a spicy green chili salsa, light in consistency with avocado mixed in.

Here are the three arepas that I had at the second restaurant:

Above, there was one type of arepa that was prepared with way too much sugar. The first/bottom arepa on the left edge, was overly sweet.

Honestly, I couldn’t finish that one because it had so much sugar in it. So, if you try Arepas, try one first to ensure you’ll like them. You always have the option to buy more or try another place.

In my opinion, it would take 3 or 4 arepas to be filling enough for a meal. They’re similar in heartiness to pupusas (from El Salvador). From the places that I tried arepas, it seems that they can be prepared differently, in shape, ingredients, etc. Just watch-out for the ones that are too sweet.