LAReview

Chamo Venezuelan Cuisine is a family-owned Pasadena restaurant that specializes in Venezuelan comfort foods like empanadas, tequeños, and, of course, soft arepas with over a dozen fillings to choose from. Here you can try Venezuela’s national dish, pabellón criollo, in the form of an arepa, which is a very tasty and far more portable alternative to the usual rice and beans plate. The freshly grilled dough gets stuffed with black beans, fried plantains, your choice of shredded chicken or beef, and a big handful of shredded white cheese that softly melts as it mingles with all the warm fillings. We also love the carne mechada arepa that comes with a big serving of shredded beef cooked in a savory tomato-based sauce that’s worth potentially ruining a white t-shirt for.

Food Rundown

Pabellon Arepa

Besides somehow stuffing every major food group (rice, beans, and shredded meat) into one fluffy masa pocket, the stewed beef filling comes in a tasty tomato-onion sauce that pairs well with the plantains and shredded white cheese. The whole thing is sweet, savory, creamy, and probably best enjoyed sitting down rather than on the go – at least for your shirt’s sake.

Reina Arepa

A creamy chicken salad, when done right, just hits different, and this arepa certainly delivers. The filling is a mayo, avocado, and cilantro mixture that gets folded into tender shredded chicken. Not only is it tangy and decadent, but it has a peppery cilantro flavor that balances out the generous amount of mayo.

Carne Mechada Empanada

This shredded beef and tomato sauce filling is warm and super saucy without just being a wet blob of pulled meat. The fried corn empanada itself is golden brown and crispy on the outside, but still maintains its softness on the inside, which we’re big fans of. Just know these can definitely be on the oilier side, so prepare accordingly.

Cachapa

Cachapa is a must-try item at Chamo’s–a simple dish that reminds us of how beautiful corn and cheese are as a couple. These thick corn pancakes are naturally sweet, nicely charred on a griddle, and have just enough bend to fold over a wedge of queso de mano, which is super mild and melts wonderfully like fresh mozzarella.

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