La Arepa Venezuelan

La Arepa

La Arepa

Location: SE 50th and Ivon, A la Carts Food Pavilion
Hours: Daily, 9am-8pm

The Story:

Portland has some great street food from around the world, but we’re lacking a bit in foods from South America. We have a few, but not many. La Arepa has opened and offers authentic Venezuelan food at A la Carts Food Pavilion.

The namesake of this cart is the arepa, a traditional snack/sandwich out of Venezuela. An arepa is a flat, round, bread-like patty made of cornmeal. It is then grilled and filled with cheese, meats, fish and/or vegetables. Since it is wheat-free, it is naturally gluten free and takes the place of bread in many Venezuelan homes. They may look small, but they are filling.

Arepas from La Arepa

Arepas from La Arepa

The arepas we enjoyed on our visit were served with shredded beef and shredded tilapia. The beef, slow cooked with garlic, onion, paprika and black pepper was moist and succulent with an amazing depth of flavor. The tilapia was seasoned with onions, garlic, paprika and sweet pepper, mellowing out the natural saltiness of the fish with some sharp flavors. The actual arepa patty was the key though. It is dense and makes a great vessel for the meat and fish. Looking at the menu, I now want to try one with meat and cheese.

La Arepa is open every day of the week to serve their tasty Venezuelan dishes. Beyond arepas, they have breakfast dishes, tapas (small plates,) empanadas, desserts, and full meals. This is one of those hidden gems you will be glad you found. Check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Arepa with shredded beef – $6
  • Arepa with chicken – $5
  • Domino: arepa stuffed with black beans and white Cotija cheese – $5
  • Reina Pepiada: arepa stuffed with chopped chicken salad prepared with potatoes, carrots and avocado – $6.50
  • Perico: arepa stuffed with scrambled eggs with garlic, onion, sweet pepper and tomato – $5
  • Empanada with shredded beef: turnover-like cornmeal stuffed pocket – $3
  • Empanada with fish – $3
  • Empanada Domino – black beans and grated white cheese – $2.50
  • Pabellon Criollo – white rice, seasoned shredded beef, fried plantains, sliced avocado, fried egg, black beans and topped with Cotija cheese – $8
  • Cachapa – pancake-like dish made of fresh ground corn with a soft Mozzarella cheese and butter – $4.50

Hours: Daily, 9am-8pm
Phone: 503 200 4952
Facebook: La Arepa


Fuego de Lotus



Location: SE 28th and Ankeny [Updated 10/2012]

The Story:

It was a dark and damp night in Portland and I was up on Alberta [Moved 10/2012] for a meeting when that craving for some food hit me. As I was leaving the meeting, I mentioned I would wander down the street to check out the carts at Area23 since they stayed open late and a few of my meeting partners decided to join. When we arrived at NE 23rd and Alberta, we found a lively lot with three carts open serving a steady stream of customers. It was the night to try Fuego de Lotus and the lot at Area23, which is the handiwork of Michael Kennet, who has taken an empty lot and made it into a welcoming area replete with lighting, covered seating and three food carts.

Fuego de Lotus specializes in dishes with Venezuelan and Mexican influences. Mike says it is the type of food he and his family have been enjoying for years and he wanted to pass it on to Portland. The cart is an older airstream trailer refitted with a kitchen and awning. The opening is flanked by flaming torches that are lit whenever he is open. I’m excited for spring when they debut a large fire pit for late evening relaxing at the pod. [Read more…]