Las Vegas strip malls are where you can find some of the best hole-in-the-walls we’ve got. Take Viva Las Arepas, which began in the kiosk now occupied by Goodwich, and gained such a following it needed a bigger kitchen and an actual dining room. If you’ve never eaten the Venezuelan street snack, arepas are savory, griddled cornmeal cakes that are stuffed with a wide variety of ingredients. I prefer them chock full, as in the Reina Pepiada, which has chicken breast, avocados, mayo, and cilantro. Vegetarians can opt for vegetables, black beans, or cheese, or all three. Other than the arepas, the roasted, marinated chicken is a big seller here, cooked over mesquite wood for nice char and flavor. Add in a few authentic sides, like fried yucca or plantain, for a filling and tasty, but still inexpensive, meal.
- Grace Bascos