What are some traditional foods from Venezuela

Eating & drinking in Venezuela

Venezuelan cuisine has traditional ingredients that are used nationwide. However, the preparation of the dishes varies from region to region.

Arepas: South American corn flatbreads

No tourist can avoid the classic arepa. Arepas are typical South American corn flatbreads, which many tour travelers already know from Colombia. Even though you can find them at all street stalls there, they don't have the same importance on the daily menu as in Venezuela. There are also many more types of preparation in Venezuela.

The arepa consists of a dough made from corn flour (also boiled corn kernels or corn flakes), water and salt and is a symbol of the Venezuelan cuisine in addition to the Christmas hallaca. According to its origins, the universally popular Arepa belongs to Venezuela's indigenous heritage, the name comes from “Erepe”, a term used by the indigenous Cumanagoto ethnic group.

Christmas classic: Hallaca

The hallaca is a typical Venezuelan Christmas dish with which all Venezuelans identify and which has a strong emotional value for them. Regardless of religion or social status, on December 24th and 31st, all Venezuelan families gather to eat hallaca. Another traditional dish on these days is ham in bread dough. The hallacas are made from a corn mixture, which - depending on the region - is filled with braised meat, onions, olives, capers and cayenne pepper. The whole thing is then wrapped in plantain leaves and cooked at low temperatures, often over a wood fire.

Venezuelan classics and national dishes

Typical of Venezuelan cuisine are also: cachapa, casabe, dulce de lechosa, pabellón criollo and various broths.

  • Cachapais a kind of pancake made from sweet corn, casabe is a flatbread made from cassava. The latter goes back to indigenous roots and is valued above all for its ease of preservation and transport.
  • Dulce de lechosa is a papaya sweet that is typical of Venezuela and is particularly enjoyed at Christmas.
  • Pabellón criolloAnother national dish consists of black beans, rice, minced meat and ripe, deep-fried plantain slices.
  • In Venezuela there is also a great preference for meat and offal-based broths or legume soups (black and red beans, lentils, peas).

Fried Venezuelan classics

In addition to the numerous Arepa and Cachapa variations, the famous ones are also delightedEmpanadasgreat popularity. These are also made from corn, stuffed differently and then fried. Another landmark of Venezuelan cuisine areTequeños, these are fried cheese sticks wrapped in a wheat flour batter.

Other dishes on the Venezuelan menu and side dishes

Depending on the region in which travelers are staying, you will find the following (often unknown) dishes on the menu:

  • Pizca andina: a soup found in the Andes with milk, eggs and coriander
  • Mute: Goat soup
  • Conejo en coco: Rabbits on coconut, particularly represented in Zulia and Falcón
  • Bollos pelones: corn dumplings filled with meat
  • Gallina rellena: the stuffed chicken typical of Táchira
  • Pisillo de chigüire: a main course typical of the Llanos with capybara
  • Lau Lau frito: the fried silver spatula catfish, which is particularly popular in Sucre
  • Calalu: a goat or chicken broth common in the Pariah Peninsula, east and Guyana
  • Lomo “prensao”: the typical Central West pork loin in the oven

As a side dish are typicallyTostones(fried green plantains) and guasacaca (the Venezuelan variant of guacamole).

Bread in Venezuela

There is a large variety of white breads in Venezuelan bakeries, and the wide range of sweet breads is particularly noticeable. Non-sweet breads include baguette, farmhouse bread, French white bread, and some imported recipes like Sicilian white bread.

Venezuelan sweets and desserts

Sweets often deserve the term “sweet” here, something that a European tourist has to be aware of before buying. The most popular Venezuelan sweets are cooked jams, fruit jellies and milk groats, as well as banana and corn cakes. Often used for desserts and sweetsPapelón(a cane sugar based syrup); there areCashew turrones and more exquisite desserts likeBienmesabe(made from coconut, biscuit, eggs and cinnamon) or theHuevos chimbos (made from eggs with syrup) in the state of Zulia.

Cheese in Venezuela

Venezuelan cheese is usually very fresh. There is a wide variety across the country, such as “Queso de año” (a strong hard cheese), Guiana cheese, goat cheese, smoked cheese, buffalo mozarella and “Queso de mano” (a mild soft cheese).

Fruit shakes in Venezuela

Typical drinks in Venezuela include fruit juices and shakes. Juices have a higher proportion of water, shakes have more pulp. If you prepare them with milk, this is called Merengadas.

Coffee in Venezuela

Drinking coffee also has a long tradition in Venezuela, coffee is available in many different places. Please note that the coffee is usually already served sweetened. Most cafés and bakeries also have espresso (“Café Negrito”) - black, with milk or “brown” (more milk = “Café Con Leche”, half half = “Café Marrón”).

Alcoholic beverages in Venezuela

The most popular Venezuelanbeeris “Polar” as Pils, Light or in special editions like the “Green”. There are many mild beers in Venezuela, so it is advisable to ask what beer is in stock before ordering. In addition, isruma popular and exquisite alcoholic drink. There are numerous brands to suit all tastes, the most popular being Santa Teresa, Cacique and Diplomático. There are also older varieties of these, with selected flavors and textures that are worth trying.