When we first arrived in Colombia we saw one word scrawled on nearly every restaurant’s chalkboard, advertising the day’s menu: arepa. Arepa with arequipe, arepa with chicharron for lunch, arepas in pastry shops, arepas everywhere. What was this crowd-favorite? At first we were told the arepa is Colombia’s version of a corn tortilla – a bit thicker and mealier than its Mexican cousin. But, that definition didn’t really pan out when everything we ordered at the panderia was called an arepa. Turns out these arepas can take many shapes and I’m pretty sure anything made of corn flower and fried can go by this name. And while it’s certainly not my favorite arepa, the one I was the most excited about when I saw it, has come to be known as the cornball — also known as a buñuelo.

If you’ve ever seen Arrested Development you’ll remember the Corn Baller. Guess what. It’s alive and well in Colombia. Not only that, but it would probably sear your fingerprints right off if you ever touched the side – just as seen on TV.

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January 23, 2014