Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Celebrate World Arepa Day, London, 14 September

Saturday, 14 September is Arepazo Mundial - World Arepa Day - and food stalls and restaurants all over the world will be celebrating the staple food of Venezuela by cooking up arepas (cornbread buns) of all shapes and sizes, stuffed with all manner of tasty fillings.
              The Arepazo Mundial brings together all Venezuelans - wherever they may be - in an act of gastronomic unity, and this year is no exception. If you want to join in the celebrations in London, head for the Guasacaca food stall in London's Acklam Village Market, off Portobello Road (W10), which will be serving a full spread of arepas to delight all tastes from 11 am to 6 pm.

The guys at Guasacaca have also organized a special day of Latin music and dancing, courtesy of London radio station Latina Network, that will include live music, salsa classes and other surprises.

For those new to the arepa, these disc-shaped cornbread buns 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 savoury 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 vintage clothes shops of Portobello Road. A recent visitor to the stall is none other than British Prime Minister David Cameron (see photo below).

The Guasacaca stall is in front of 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. On Saturday, expect live music and dancing events organized by Latina Network, a London-based radio station that broadcasts news and music for the Latin American community.

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.

To find out more about the arepazo in London go on Twitter - #ArepazoMundial #DíaInternacionalDeLaArepa @GUASACACALONDON @latinanetwork

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