Before you travel to Venezuela, here’s a short Food Guide to help you learn about the best and most popular foods you’ll find while on vacation in Caracas, and throughout Venezuela.
Venezuela has many popular main dishes that locals enjoy at breakfast, lunch and dinner time. But there’s also a range of desserts, sweets and drinks to enjoy in Venezuela. Venezuelan cuisine has been influenced by French, Italian and Spanish recipes; however, Venezuelan foods also have developed their own unique tastes and styles. You’ll also find a local feel to the foods you’ll eat in Venezuela. As you travel in Venezuela close to the coastline, you’ll find locals and tourists gravitating towards seafood and shellfish dishes . As you move into the highlands, the food ingredients tend to have more corn and rice in them. Meats of all types are very important parts of Venezuelan cuisine. You’ll find many Venezuelan dishes with beef, deer, goat, rabbit, lamb or chicken as well. Below is a guide to many of the best foods people in Venezuela enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between.
Breakfast in Venezuela is a small meal that usually consists of a small pastry or toast served with coffee or fresh juice. A typical breakfast option is the famous Cachitos de Jamon (ham crescent roll) which is mainly made up of corn flour, eggs, ham and butter. Venezuela is one of the leading producers of cacao beans, so you might also consider enjoying a few delicious pieces of Venezuelan chocolate with your coffee at breakfast time.
The largest meal in Venezuela is lunch, which is also when most restaurants offer nice specials on traditional Venezuelan dishes, and cuisine from all over the world including Italy, France, Spain, the Caribbean, and foods from many other countries. Almost all restaurants offer a set meal with several courses for a reasonable price, which is often called menu ejecutivo or menu cubietro.
Like breakfast, dinner in Venezuela can be a lighter meal that might consist of smaller portions of many of the popular Venezuelan foods described below:
Pabellon is a national dish of Venezuela consisting of rice, black beans and banana covered in stewed and shredded beef.
Hallaca is very popular Venezuelan dish, which is especially prepared for Christmas time when bundles of food are exchanged between families and neighbors. Fillings of beef, pork, caper, raisins and olives are prepared and wrapped in corn meal dough and then bound with banana leaves.
Hervido is a kind of soup Venezuelans like that consists of a combination of beef and chicken or fish with potatoes and other local vegetables of the region the food is served.
Pernil is mainly a variation of roasted pork that is flavoured with garlic, vinegar and oregano.
Chivo al coco is a specialty belonging to the coastal regions. It contains shredded goat meat cooked in coconut milk and finally served with mofongo (fried mashed green bananas).
Empandas are delicious deep fried, stuffed corn flour patties. Depending on the region they may have different types of seafood fillings like shark or clams. The most famous and popular ones are also filled with cheese and minced meat.
Lengua de res is a simple yet rich Venezuelan dish made of cow tongue served in vinaigrette.
Sopa de mondongo is a type of soup people in Venezuela make with tripe (cow intestine and stomach) mixed with a combination of root vegetables like cabbage and celery. The tripe is usually marinated in lemon juice or tamarind. Sometimes a beef bone is added for flavor.
Tostones are made of plantains that are fried twice and served as a side dish with main dishes. The plantains are fried lightly on both sides for a minute then taken out of the pan to dry and then fried for a second time.
Arepas is a common side dish in Venezuela (sometimes considered a snack). Arepas are made of corn flour, water and salt and are either fried or baked. In Venezuela Arepa is usually served instead of bread with meals, and are commonly topped with chicken, ham, or jam.
Cachapa looks like an American pancake but is slightly thicker and is made with corn puree, sugar, salt and oil and is folded over with a big piece of soft white cheese inside it. It can also be served with jam or cream. This is the type of snack that is served with tea or coffee at breakfast time, but can also be served with a side of fried pork as an afternoon snack.
Mandoca is a type of doughnut made of deep fried cornmeal, which is made with papelon or sugar can pulp. It is generally served with bananas and plantains at breakfast.
Perico is a Venezuelan Caribbean form of scrambled eggs with onions and tomatoes served as breakfast wth arepa or bread.
Tajadas is a typical side dish made of fried ripened plantain slices.
Tequeños are long and small rolls filled with hot cheese or chocolate. They look like they are rich but their small size makes them the perfect quick snack.
Venezuela is also famous for its desserts and sweet. Below are just a few of the mouth-watering desserts you’ll find while traveling on vacation in Venezuela:
Arequipe is made of sweetened milk that is cooked slowly until it becomes like a brown jam with a caramel taste.
Besito de coco is a popular round coconut cookies dessert in Venezuela that many locals and travelers alike enjoy.
Cannoli is a pastry tube filled with ricotta cheese and honey and chocolate.
Dulce de Lechoza is a typical dessert served during Christmas time. It is made of green papaya and brown sugar cooked slowly over a long period of time, and then allowed to cool, before serving cold.
Quesillo is similar to flan and is made of egg yolks and syrup.