My absolute favorite arepa is the arepa de choclo, a sweet corn arepa griddled with white farm cheese on a round pan called asador de arepas. I first experience this sweet corn cake as a teenager. My good friend’s grandmother — a Colombian native who didn’t speak a lick of English — would cook them for us as hot snacks.
I get my fix on at two local eateries.
Las Arepas de Julia (4044 Lawrenceville Hwy, Lilburn, 770.559.4094)
At this unsuspecting little storefront in Lilburn, you’ll find the city’s best Colombian fare by far, as well as the finest arepas in town. Here, the uber moist arepas de choclo arrives the size of a large human hand. It’s freshly griddled, wearing a splotchy outer char. The center is filled with stringy white cheese. These are the closest to what I remember eating as a teenager.
La Churreria (3336 Buford Highway, Atlanta, 404.477.1811)
This quirky little Colombian bakery hole-in-the-wall scores high praise from the local food writers for offering skillfully prepared baked goods in a down to earth, humble storefront.
I turn to the arepas de choclo here for a quick fix when I don’t have the time to drive all the way to Lilburn. These griddled corn cakes are made earlier in the day and sit in a warming glass display case. The version at this fun little bakery might lack that splotchy char and freshness compared to those served at Las Arepas de Julia way up I-85, and the cheese isn’t the least bit stretchy, but they are tasty, warm and studded with little bits of corn. The edges are more defined, the cakes slightly thicker, and my gas tank takes less of a hit. Over all, La Churreria is certainly a worthy version.