Main Location: Minneapolis
Easily in the top 5 of recognizeability, Hola Arepa quickly shot up near the top of the city’s popularity. Chef-driven (I actually used to work with a couple of their cooks… sadly not in the truck though), they focus on traditional Mexican-style flavors and fillings, stuffed in a unique, perfect little package.
Now, this is the point in the show where we detour to an old-timey, scratchy black and white video explaining a ubiquitous term (I don’t care if that’s not the right use of the word “ubiquitous,” it sounds confusing and I like it). For those who have yet to be fully explained on what an Arepa is, then here you go.
Those who know true tortillas know that they’re made from a special Mexican corn flour called “masa.” An “arepa” is when they take this same flour and turn it into something that’s a mix between an English Muffin, Pancake, Tortilla, and Hamburger Bun. They then slice it mostly in half (again, best way to cut buns for Street Food consumption), scoop out some of the fluffy inside, and fill with whatever fancies.
You know, it’s sorta like a Taco and a Hamburger Patty smoked crack, had sex and got pregnant (don’t ask which one, I don’t want to get into those kind of food politics).
Hola Arepa serves on average five different sammiches; almost always the same, but just recently I saw a new item, so don’t quote me on that. A VERY important thing to do, lift the top bun to get a look at your filling; in the early days I always had to add more sauce after getting through the first few bites. I hear this isn’t the same nowadays, but you can never be too safe.
Sauces themselves are a few different housemade salsas, set on the front shelf with a selection of house pickles (always a good sign). Tortillas and guac are quite popular with their clientele, so there has to be something behind it.
Once completely topped with one of their fantastic sauces, the fillings easily rival some of the best taco trucks’ in their tastiness. The recent Chorizo-Pepper was scrumptious and fantastic, then you counter the fattiness with their pickles, and it’s all there. The arepa is a very unique and, more importantly, very FLAVORFUL package; flour tortillas and regular burger buns just can’t seem to match that note where you want to eat them on their own. Those who have had a Masa tortilla, though, know that feeling when you just happen to take a bit of it on its own with only a little sauce or lime.
Basically the Mexican street food, arepas are made to eat with one hand. These ones in particular tend to be a bit bursting over the top though; one of their newer ones (which is what I had last) is actually very messy in particular. If it’s important to you, avoid the one with Chorizo and Fajita Peppers… though it makes up for it in pure fatty deliciousness.
Arepa options stick in the $5-7, staying at that great range of price for true street food.
Much the same speed as making a taco, just differently shaped masa.
The TOE: 9
The only Truck serving arepas, Hola fits that “unique item” niche perfectly, while offering it with in a fun-colored truck to walk the street with easily. Not to mention, they’re one of the few trucks to do pure-blackboard menu display, and of the other ones this is easily the most cramped for information.
If there’s anything that feels “lacking,” not that they even need to consider it, I almost wish they might try a seasonal “creative” arepa now and then. I think it’d be fun, both for customers and the chefs coming up with it.
I can’t put much effort into suggestions, every item is good. If you’re willing to shell out the high cost of *Gasp!* 7 dollars, the Cuban is one of my favorites.
Don’t really understand the draw of the chicken-avocado salad filled arepa, but to each their own (a good reason to go to Hola if you’re more into cold sandwiches, though). Personally, I also don’t see any reason to get chips n guac; as a foodie I go straight for the arepa and move onto the next conquer.