Several Latin American countries have their own version of the arepa, But Francisco Millan of Boston’s Row 34, who is actually Colombian born, fell in love with the Venezuelan version or the griddled cornflour cake. “The Venezuelan version of an arepa is a little lighter and not as dense as the Colombian version that was familiar to me growing up,” says Millan. “In Colombia an arepa is just served on the side as part of a meal like a tortilla or bread, but Venezuelan arepas are a highlight — they’re soft and airy, and filled with delicious meat and vegetables.”
When working at Straight Wharf and Ventuno in Nantucket, Mass., Millan used to make arepas with his fellow cooks after service. Today, he serves arepas with a distinct New England twist at popular seafood spot Row 34. Best of all for the summer? Fried oyster arepas.
The bread: That’d be the soft Venezuelan-style arepa, with a bit of a crust and an airy interior.
The filling: Millan starts with Boston’s favorite, Island Creek Oysters from Duxbury, MA, which he coats in the spicy house dredge and then fries. Those are piled onto the arepa with chipotle aioli, and a corn salad with cilantro, red onion, jalepeño and fresno chili.