Thursday, September 13, 2012
Celebrate World Arepa Day in London 15 September
On Saturday 15 September Venezuelans around the world will be getting together in an act of gastronomic unity to enjoy the country's most emblematic national dish: the arepa.
In London, the place to be for this culinary celebration is Acklam Village Market (W10), where the folks at the Guasacaca food stall will have a full spread of arepas to delight all tastes.
For those new to the arepa, these disc-shaped cornbread patties are big enough to hold in two hands and can be eaten plain or with butter. More typically, they are opened up like a pocket and stuffed with tasty fillings, such as shredded beef, black beans, grated cheese, avocado and chicken, or any combination that takes your fancy.
The must-try arepa filling they sell at Guasacaca is the Reina Pepiada, a lip-smacking combination of shredded chicken, mashed avocado, mayonnaise and peas.
Not surprisingly for Venezuela - famous for the stunning beauty of its lady folk - the Reina Pepiada is named after local lovely Susana Dujim, who won Miss World in 1955.
The Reina Pepiada is popular with Venezuelan party-goers who like to end a big night out with something sticky, savoury and filling (a sort of South American version of the donor kebab).
But whatever filling you try, don't forget to add the final flourish, a dollop of tasty guasaca sauce, made with avocados, or a spicy splash of picante hot sauce.
All arepas cost £5 and you can mix and match any of the fillings on the menu.
For the young Venezuelans who run the stall, David Gutierrez, Irua Dugarte, Andrea Villalba and Andres Gonzalez, the Arepazo Mundial is an excellent opportunity to spread the word about Venezuelan food and convert more people to the flavours of their homeland.
Acklam Village Market (W10 5TY) is one of the coolest street food markets in London, a place to feed your face after a morning browsing the antique stalls and shops of Portobello Road.
The market has a laid back bar with tables and sofas where you can sip a beer and listen to live music while tucking into the international street food on offer from the various stalls.
How to get there: Take the Tube to Ladbroke Grove on the Hammersmith and City or Circle Lines and then cross the street and walk straight on until you get to the market entrance. Alternatively go to Notting Hill Gate on the Central Line and make your way down Portobello Road to Acklam Road.