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When I told the waiter that my friend and I were going to share a bunch of arepas—Venezuelan sandwich-like cornmeal patties stuffed with meats, cheese, and more—he looked at us like we were crazy. "Uh, how many do you want?" After taking into consideration the waiter's fear of us overeating arepas, we ended up sharing three arepas, each one about the size of a really fat, kid's-sized burger, and an order of guacamole and tortilla chips (in addition to the complimentary bowl of plantain chips). As I underestimated the size of an arepa (or overestimated my hunger), we were completely stuffed by the end of the meal.

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My favorite arepa is the pabellon filled with shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantains, and grated cheese. Each hearty bite through the crisp and soft cornmeal "buns" is full of tender, juicy beef. Accompanied by the creamy beans and starchy plantain, this arepa should fill you up, although the first time I ate one I remember wanting to eat another right afterwards.

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The reina pepiada filled with chicken potato salad and avocado is also good—avocado seems to go well in every sandwich—but it can't match up to the juiciness of the pabellon.

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I would've liked the ham and cheese more if the cheese had been melted. It was still tasty unmelted though, with its ample amount of ham and cheese.

While I may want more than one arepa for a meal, one and a half arepas and half an order of guacamole and chips is probably too much. If you don't want to overstuff yourself, one pabellon arepa should be enough.

Shachi's

197 Havemeyer Street (at S. 4th Street; map)
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718-388-8884

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