20, rue de la Fontaine du But, in the 18th Arrondissement. 01 42 54 96 25.
Open Wed–Fri, 12:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.; Sat¬–Sun, noon–5 p.m.
So Paris has discovered street food. And none too soon. Paris dining options have expanded further with more eating spots for Latin American cuisine. In addition to Argentinean empanadas and Mexican burritos and enchiladas, you can now try Venezuelan arepas at Bululú Arepera should you be in the Montmartre area, with its charming hilly streets and the Sacré-Coeur church.
Arepas are griddled flatbreads made from precooked maize flour. Eaten for breakfast or as snacks, taken as an accompaniment or stuffed like a sandwich, with eggs, cheese, meats, beans, avocado, etc., they are true street food in countries like Argentina, Colombia and Costa Rica.
A little shop has recently sprung up in the heart of Montmartre, specializing in arepas with traditional and special fillings. Though it’s rudimentary in layout, with only four tables and the tiniest kitchen and counter, one feels comfortable in the sunlit space. No doubt the very friendly staff who take the time to explain the menu tirelessly to every diner counts for something.
At Bululú Arepera, the arepas are first fried on the griddle, then baked in the oven so they come firm and crunchy, then split in the middle and filled with anything from chicken and avocado, to Edam cheese and beef, to black beans and Venezuelan cheese for vegetarians. Since they were out of the special Merecumbé (duck confit, mango, red onions and mint) and a few other choices because of an unexpected crowd (a “crazy day,” explained our tired waiter with a smile), we opted for the Pabellon, a satisfying mix of black beans and meltingly tender beef and Venezuelan cheese, and the Carupanera, hand-cut sausage with pickled red onions, avocado and fried plantains. Accompanied with sauces, the arepas were fresh, delicious and smacked of homemade goodness. The Carupanera was especially good, with its combination of sweet and salty, and different textures.
The house specialty makes for a perfect afternoon snack, but you can also round out your meal with corn and plantain chips with guasacaca sauce, which is guacamole with some extras, served “our way,” as the patient waiter explained. Wash it down with a refreshing papelón con limón (lime and cane sugar) or a passion fruit parchita or other rum-based cocktails, all served in Mason jars. I didn’t see any desserts on the menu, but a shout-out for the excellent café con leche.
On the way out, I noticed a brunch menu, with mains mostly composed of variations of bean stews, braised meats, accompanied by rice and arepas, and other sides like a sweet potato and corn soup.
In a nutshell: arepas!
Price check: arepas (€6–¬8); mains (€12–15); sides (€4¬–6); drinks (€4); cocktails (€7); coffee (€2¬–3.5).
If you like the sound of Bululú Arepera, check out Cantine California and Chipotle. Read the reviews.
The location for this food truck varies. Please see the Cantine California link at the review for specific places and times.
18–20, boulevard Montmartre, in the 9th Arrondissement. 01 45 23 12 54.
Open daily, 11 a.m.–10 p.m.