Culinary tourism has become an increasingly popular form of tourism in recent years as travelers seek out new and unique gastronomic experiences. In 2019, the industry was valued at $1,116.7 billion globally.
As food enthusiasts continue to explore the world through their taste buds, Venezuelan food is becoming a must-try for anyone interested in Latin American cuisine.
What is Venezuelan Food?
Venezuelan food is a unique fusion of Spanish, Italian, West African, and Caribbean cuisines. This melting pot of cultures has resulted in a wide variety of delicious and distinct dishes. Because of these influences, Venezuelan food is sought-after and celebrated for its flavor, texture, and presentation.
Unlike other Latin American countries, such as Mexico or Peru, Venezuelan food is not as well-known or widely available outside the country. However, this is rapidly changing as more and more immigrants bring Venezuelan flavors to new lands, leading to the discovery of the delights of the country’s cuisine.
What Is Venezuelan Food Like?
A typical Venezuelan dish contains rice, corn, beans, plantains, and yams. These staples are usually served with an assortment of meats, such as chicken, beef, or pork. Venezuelan cuisine also uses a wide range of queso blanco, also known as white cheese. With the nutritious selection of dishes, the challenges of a healthy lifestyle while traveling are not as tricky.
Often, people describe Venezuelan food as being hearty and filling, making it the perfect meal destination if you want to stay healthy while traveling. The dishes are often very flavorful, with a perfect balance of spices. They are also popular because of their visual appeal, bright colors, and intricate serving designs.
What Are the Most Popular Venezuelan Cuisines?
Food travelers will be happy to know that there is a wide variety of Venezuelan cuisine to choose from. Below are some of the most popular Venezuelan dishes that will definitely make a feast for the senses.
What Are Traditional Foods in Venezuela?
Arepas venezolanas, or arepa, is an iconic Venezuelan dish. It is a pita-like bread made from corn flour, water, and a pinch of salt, often cooked in a pan or griddle and finished in a standard oven. They are smaller and thicker than other versions from neighboring countries. However, a modern twist is now popular among the youth. They fill Arepa with meats, veggies, and cheeses to make a “complete meal” Arepa.
A South American version of scrambled eggs, Perico is a popular breakfast or brunch dish in Venezuelan households. It is made with eggs, onions, tomatoes, scallions, and red bell peppers. It’s often stuffed into Arepa or served with bread on the side.
A Cachapa is a type of Arepa that contains fresh corn instead of corn flour. They are usually bigger and thinner than regular arepas and have a sweeter taste. They are best enjoyed as an appetizer with queso blanco (white cheese) melted on top and chicharron (fried pork rinds) on the side.
This dish is recognized as the national dish of Venezuela. Pabellon criollo contains rice, black beans, stewed meat (usually beef), and plantains. It is usually served for lunch or dinner.
What Is a Typical Venezuelan Comfort Food?
Also known as a famous Venezuelan Christmas food, the Sancocho is made with different types of meat and vegetables. The soup is hearty and warm, making it the perfect comfort food for a cold day. It is also thought to cure hangovers, the reason it is a must-have dish at celebrations.
For a refreshing and comforting drink, try the Chicha. It comes from perfectly-soaked rice blended with condensed milk and nutmeg. It is often served as a dessert drink or as an after-meal refreshment.
Catalinas criollas, or Catalinas, are soft cookies. Also known as paledonias, this Venezuelan treat is made from flour, unrefined whole cane sugar, syrup, and cinnamon. It’s best served with coffee, hot chocolate, or milk, creating the ultimate Venezuelan comfort food.
What Are Some Street Foods in Venezuela?
As the most famous street food in Venezuela, Chicharron is a must-try. These deep-fried pork rinds are often served with a dipping sauce such as ají (a type of chili pepper) or ketchup. They are a crunchy, salty, and addictive snack that will surely leave you wanting more.
From its Spanish roots, the empanada has become a Venezuelan favorite. It is a turnover pastry typically filled with meat, veggies, or cheese. The fillings vary depending on the region, but the most common ones are Carne mechada (shredded beef), pabellon criollo (rice, black beans, stewed beef, and plantains), and cheese.
Tequeños are fried cheese sticks wrapped in a doughy pastry. They are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, making them an irresistible snack. Tequeños are often served as appetizers or side dishes, but they are gaining popularity as street food.
What Desserts Do Venezuelans Eat?
Venezuelan food is all about freshness, color and flavor, these characteristics also reflect in their desserts which is prepared with a lot of Latin passion. Here are some of the most popular Venezuelan desserts that you must try at least once in your life.
Torta Negra Navideña
For sweet-toothed Venezuelans, the Torta Negra Navidena is a must-have during Christmas. It is a traditional black cake made with molasses, port wine, coffee, and spices such as cloves and cinnamon. The cake is then covered in chocolate ganache or fondant.
Torta de Piña
This easy-to-make Venezuelan pineapple cake is perfect for any occasion. It is made with crushed pineapple, sugar, eggs, flour, and baking powder. With its contrasting flavors of sweet cake and slightly acidic pineapple, the Torta de Piña is a delicious and refreshing dessert.
The Quesillo is a must-have dessert for Venezuelan celebrations. It is a caramel flan pudding with eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. The pudding is then baked in a water bath to create a smooth and creamy texture.
What Is Nata Venezuelan Food?
Nata is a spreadable cream that’s made from cow’s milk. It is salty with a bit of tart flavor, and comes in a creamy texture. In Venezuela, it comes served with arepas, cachapas (corn pancakes), and casabe (cassava bread). It is also a popular ingredient in Venezuelan desserts such as the Torta Negra Navideña and the Quesillo.
Where To Buy Venezuelan Food?
If you’re looking to try Venezuelan food, there are many ways to get your hands on it. You can find Venezuelan restaurants in cities across the globe. You can also buy Venezuelan food online from websites like Amazon.
But to get the authentic Venezuelan experience, your best bet is to head to Venezuela and try the food yourself. By doing so, you’ll not only get to sample the country’s delicious cuisine, but you’ll also get to experience its vibrant culture.