A few nights ago, at Roneria Caracas in Williamsburg, a man was overheard asking about the signature arepas. He wasn’t curious about what they came stuffed with or how much an order cost. Rather, he was interested in making them at home. The manager kindly sat down with him to talk shop. There is one secret to an authentic arepa, the man was told: Harina PAN corn flour from Venezuela.
The restaurant sold this particular customer a quart of Harina PAN for $5. But you can get it at most Latino markets, including Essex Market on the Lower East Side. Alternatively, you can get Caracas to sell you the arepas uncooked with the various stuffings separate to warm up at home, which is part of their catering service.
The man left the bar that night with his flour and an earful of advice from the staff on how to cook arepas. Despite the sizable markup on his flour, he seemed perfectly pleased with the purchase.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 18, 2010