So we recently featured a (pretty sexy) video about Venezuelan arepas. The two big takeaways from the video are that arepas are 1) good and 2) seriously good. But we noticed something ~interesting~ when checking the comments for it:
There is room in this world for more than one type of thing-stuffed-with-other-things.
I mean, hell, you don’t see pierogi and ravioli fighting with each other, do you? So let’s take a closer look at both gorditas and arepas.
These consist of a small cake made with corn, and originated in Mexico. They’re sometimes fried, sometimes baked, and always stuffed with all kinds of good things, like shredded beef or carnitas or nopal or beans. There are varieties of gorditas, including “gorditas de migas,” which have pork in the masa.
Here’s what they look like:
And here’s a recipe to make them with chicharrón, because most things are better with chicharrón.
These are small cakes made with corn and are popular throughout Venezuela and Colombia, although they’re also enjoyed in Puerto Rico, the DR and Panama. They can be baked, fried, grilled or even steamed, and are stuffed with all kinds of things, like chicken and maduros and frijoles negros, oh my. Oh, and there are sweet versions, too. Because life is good.
They are delicious.
Here’s what they look like:
And here’s a recipe to make ’em. (Remember to stuff them so full of avocado and/or cheese that tears of joy spring to your eyes.)
So, what’s the difference?
It really depends on region. Even within Mexico, gorditas can be prepared with different ingredients and cooked different ways. Likewise, arepas can vary slightly depending on where they’re made (as anyone who has had a soft, sweet mozzarepa at a street fair can tell you).
Yes, they’re similar. Very similar. They’re basically the same main ingredients, and they’re both the creations of indigenous people creating good food with what was available.
More often that not, the difference comes down to the precise preparation of the dough. (In Venezuela, it all starts with masarepa) and especially the ingredients inside. There’s no doubt that a corn cake stuffed with pabellón and maduros is quintessentially Venezuelan, just like it’s obvious that a corn cake brimming with carnitas is Mexican.
This blog post breaks down just how similar these foods really are.
And don’t even get us started on pupusas.
God bless El Salvador for also giving us their delicious, stuffed corn cakes, topped with curtido (which is kind of like a more refreshing coleslaw, with no mayo and much better).
In conclusion: The big difference between gorditas and arepas…
…is whoever makes them. If a Mexican makes one and tells you it’s a gordita, then that’s what it is. If a Venezuelan makes one and calls it an arepa, then it’s an arepa. So the food in that video we shared? Arepas. Fully, totally and completely.
So eat them all. And enjoy.
Because Latin American food is delicious, creative and worth sharing, no matter where it’s from. And if you just stick to what you know, you’re definitely missing out.
Are you Team Gordita, Team Arepa, or Team ALL THE FOOD?