Is the arepa Colombian or Venezuelan?

Both countries claim the authorship of the dish

 Is the arepa Colombian or Venezuelan?

Leer en Español: Arepa: ¿Colombiana o Venezolana?

Colombia and Venezuela used to be one country, along with Ecuador and Panama. Nowadays, both nations have similar cultures, share similar values, and language. In Colombia and Venezuela, salsa is commonly liked, as well as vallenato and llanero music. In both countries, they say “chevere” when something is “cool”. They also admire Simon Bolivar and José Gregorio Pérez.

However, there is no better debate between Colombians and Venezuelans than the debate over the origina of the arepa. The arepa is a traditional food from both countries. If you ask a Venezuelan, they will say that their delicacy is the original and the tastiest. On the other hand, if you ask a Colombian, the answer will be similar.

Which one is the original arepa? Both are made from corn dough, similar to the Mexican “gorditas” and the Salvadorian “pupusas”. Both can be eaten throughout the day and are considered an indispensable side dish at any household. The main difference is that the Venezuelan arepa is normally stuffed with various ingredients while the Colombian dish is typically plain with cheese or just egg.  

Historically, experts assure that native tribes that lived both in Colombia and Venezuela started cooking with corn around 3000 years ago; there is evidence of ancient cooking utensils for the making of arepa in both nations. So, it has been concluded that there is not a specific place where said delicacy was created.

When it comes to variety of arepas, both countries have similar diversities. According to Carlos Gaviria, chef and teacher over at La Sabana University, in Colombia there are at least 55 types of arepas, while in Venezuela, 42.

However, professor Gaviria insist that the arepa is neither from Colombia nor Venezuela; the arepa is from America, as a whole. “When something belongs to everybody, it belongs to no one”, the Colombian chef stated.


Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández 

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto


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