Bite of the Week: Pabellón Criollo Arepa From Zema Latin Vibes

An up-close look at our editors’ favorite bites from around the city

What: An arepa—AKA Venezuelan corn pancake—filled with black beans, queso de mano, fried plantains, and braised beef with aromatics known as pabellón criollo. There’s also a good amount of optional Tabasco in there too. I’d recommend it.

Where: The Zema Latin Vibes truck posted up outside 5900 Wilshire Blvd (our office), which I’ve been waiting for ever since Bill Esparza wrote about its unrivaled greatness.

When: Today at 11:30 a.m. on one of those days where you brought a lunch but threw it in fridge hoping that it stays fresh enough to eat for dinner because you found a super dope food truck. Everyone has those days.

The Final Bite: I ate this sitting on a curb, completely alone, and found myself saying “damn” out loud every three or four bites. Sometimes you hit a particularly cheesy pocket; sometimes you get a mouthful of perfectly seasoned shredded beef; sometimes the Tabasco combines with the plantain to create a sweet and spicy flavor vortex that your mind can’t quite wrap itself around; and each deserve own audible lightweight curse word.