Halfway through my time at Yale, I discovered the magic of arepas thanks to a food truck that parked not a block from where I lived. The yellow loyalty cards they gave out, ten hole punches for a free meal, sat fixedly in my wallet until, every once in a while, they would vanish and be reincarnated as a styrofoam container of savory-sweet cornmeal discs piled high with shredded meat.

Latin American fare can be tricky to find in Asia. It’s a shame, since the flavors are often complementary; just look at what an enterprising group of Korean-Americans was able to do. We need more of them, or more of the folks at this colorful cafe in bohemian Fitzroy, whose arepas are necessary sustenance for a whole day trawling the indie stores. If only my neighbors were more persistent in their demands for guacamole and picadillo… If only the joint on my street that serves mediocre burritos were Sonido! instead…

In a moment of creative urgency, my friend Tim once proposed that we quit our jobs and start a food truck. And maybe one day, if I undergo another quarter-life crisis and change career aspirations again, that’s what I’ll do. What nobler act is there, after all, than shelling out arepas and plastic loyalty cards, ten punches for a brief slice of bliss?


Colombian cafe Sonido sits just west of the intersection of Brunswick and Gertrude Streets, making it an ideal starting point for a day of browsing two of Fitzroy’s main drags. The lovely turquoise walls and matching espresso machine, vinyl covers, and assorted tchotchkes make the space feel retro and intimate without seeming affected. The menu consists of arepas with meat (chorizo, shredded beef) and arepas without (cheese, black beans)—it’s simple, but satisfying.

69 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
Mon-Fri: 08:00-16:00; Sat: 09:00-16:00; Sun: 10:00-16:00
Around 18 AUD per person

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