Sandwiches in some shape or form can be found in cuisines all around the world. In Venezuela, arepas are the breakfast sandwiches of choice. The “bread” is ground maize shaped into flat, round pancake-like discs that are simultaneously crunchy and chewy. For the filling inside, the possibilities are manifold.
At Arepa Factory in the East Village, Venezuela’s national dish, “pabellón,” makes for a traditional filling. The rice and beans dish is usually made with shredded beef, stewed black beans, and fried sweet plantains. Arepa Factory adds a dash of green salsa and Guayanés cheese, a mild variety made from Venezuelan cow’s milk, to cut through the hearty ingredients ($9.75).
For a lighter arepa that includes the quintessential breakfast ingredient, eggs, go for the Perico ($8.75). Scrambled eggs are mixed with green and red bell peppers, then combined with black beans, Guayanés cheese, and sour cream. Another filling, La Negra, combines asado negro, a classic roast beef dish commonly cooked in Worcestershire sauce, bell peppers, and red wine, with sweet plantains and Guayanés cheese, the ultimate fusion of sweet and savory ($9.25).
You can also choose to have your sandwich on a cachapa, a close cousin to the arepa made from mashed corn. More chewy than the arepa, it has a sweet corn taste and notes of charred smokiness from spending time on the griddle.