Venezuelan food belongs to the most underrated cuisines in South America. From arepas to pabellon criollo, there are countless delicious dishes originating from this beautiful country. The variety of flavors is heavily influenced by the different cultures that have settled in Venezuela over the years, including Spanish, African, Italian, and Indigenous.
If you’re looking to try something new, or just want to know what some of the most popular Venezuelan foods are, then check out this list of my favorite Venezuelan dishes!
Arepas are a staple in Venezuelan cuisine. They’re a type of cornmeal cake that’s usually grilled or fried, and then filled with all sorts of deliciousness. From cheese to meats, there are endless possibilities when it comes to arepas.
To prepare arepas, first, a dough is made from white cornmeal. Then, this dough is formed into little patties and cooked until golden brown. Once they’re cooked, they’re often stuffed with things like cheese, meats, or vegetables.
In Venezuela, you will find arepas served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are unlimited variations, such as arepa de choclo made with sweet corn, arepa con queso filled with cheese, arepa con carne mechada with shredded beef or pabellon arepa filled with pabellon criollo.
2. Pabellon Criollo
Pabellon criollo is the national dish of Venezuela and is typically made of shredded beef, black beans, white rice, and plantains. It’s a hearty and filling dish which is perfect for a winter meal.
The dish originated from the Venezuelan state of Lara, and its name comes from the Spanish word for “flag” because of its red, white, and blue colors. Pabellon criollo is often served with arepas, but can also be enjoyed on its own.
The ingredients for pabellon criollo are simmered together until the beef is cooked through and the flavors have melded together. This dish is often served with a side of sour cream or avocado.
If you’re looking for a taste of Venezuelan culture, then pabellon criollo is a dish you need to try. It’s flavorful, filling, and will provide you with a true taste of Venezuelan cuisine.
Cachapa is a Venezuelan cornmeal cake, made with fresh corn instead of dry cornmeal. This gives the cachapa a sweet flavor and a moist texture.
The origins of cachapa date back to the time of the indigenous people in Venezuela. It’s a traditional dish that’s still popular today.
Cachapas are usually served for breakfast, but can also be enjoyed as a snack or a light meal. They’re often topped with queso de mano, a type of fresh cheese, and sometimes ham or bacon.
They make the perfect meal to start your day, and will definitely give you the energy you need to explore all that Venezuela has to offer.
In Venezuelan Restaurants, you’ll often find cachapas served with a side of sour cream or avocado. If you’re looking for a truly Venezuelan breakfast, then this is the dish for you.
Empanadas are maybe the most popular Venezuelan snack, and for good reason. These little fried or baked pastries are stuffed with all sorts of deliciousness, making them the perfect snack or meal.
The dough for empanadas is typically made with wheat flour, water, and salt. Then, it’s filled with meats, cheeses, vegetables, or really anything you want. Once they’re filled, they’re fried or baked until golden brown.
In Venezuela, some popular versions include empanadas de pabellon filled with pabellon criollo, empanadas de pollo filled with chicken, and even sweet empanadas filled with fruits like pineapple or guava.
Empanadas are easy to find in Venezuelan restaurants and street stands. If you’re looking for something to share, or just want a tasty snack, then empanadas are a great option.
5. Venezuelan Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are a popular street food in Venezuela. They’re made with beef or pork, and are usually served with cheese, avocado, and/or sour cream.
From the street stands in Caracas to the beachside restaurants in Los Roques, Venezuelan hot dogs are a staple of Venezuelan cuisine. If you’re looking for a delicious and hearty snack, then this is the dish for you.
To prepare it, the sausage is grilled and then placed in a fresh bun. The most popular toppings are cheese, avocado, and sour cream, but you can also find them topped with salsa, cabbage, or even ketchup and mustard.
Venezuelan hot dogs are simple, but so satisfying. If you’re looking for a quick snack while exploring Venezuela, then be sure to try one of these delicious hot dogs.
6. Asado Negro
Asado negro is a type of Venezuelan stew that’s made with beef, pork, or chicken. The name asado negro literally means “black roast,” referring to the color of the sauce. The sauce is made with charred onions, garlic, and bell peppers, giving it a deep flavor.
The meat is slowly cooked in the dark sauce until it’s tender and falling off the bone. Asado negro is typically served with white rice, black beans, and plantains. It’s a hearty and filling dish.
Typically, locals will make asado negro for special occasions. Some local traditional events include Christmas, Easter, Carnival, and even Father’s Day. If you’re lucky enough to be in Venezuela during one of these special occasions, then be sure to try this delicious dish.
Tequeños are fried cheese sticks that are often served as an appetizer. They can be made with different types of cheese, but the most common is mozzarella.
Tequeños are usually served with a side of sour cream or avocado. If you’re looking for something to share, or just want a tasty snack, then tequeños are a great option.
For the recipe, you first need to make the dough. Then, you cut the cheese into sticks and wrap them in the dough. After that, they’re fried until golden brown and crispy.
Tequeños are a popular snack in Venezuela, and can be found in most restaurants.
Arequipe is a type of Venezuelan caramel made with milk, sugar, and vanilla. It’s often used to fill arepas or spread on top of cachapas.
You make it by cooking milk and sugar together until it forms a thick caramel. Then, you add vanilla, and stir until it’s combined. The locals usually make arequipe at home, but you can also find it in some Venezuelan restaurants and cafes.
If you have a sweet tooth, then you’ll love arequipe. It’s the perfect addition to any Venezuelan dish, and makes a great snack on its own.
9. Arroz con Coco
Arroz con coco is a traditional Venezuelan dessert made with rice, coconut milk, and sugar. It is one of the sweet treats usually prepared during Holy Week.
Traditionally, before its preparation, a game is played, which is customary in the coastal regions of the country. The goal of the game is to break the coconuts. To do so, participants take turns to crash them and the first one to do so is the winner.
Afterward, the fleshy pulp is taken to the kitchen and, in combination with other ingredients such as white rice, cinnamon, sugar or papelón, cloves and spices, it is transformed into a delicious dessert.
It is served hot or cold, bathed with condensed milk and sprinkled with cinnamon.
10. Arroz con Leche
Arroz con leche is another exquisite traditional dessert that comes from the Venezuelan Andes, and is particularly popular in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital.
This dish is made with rice, milk, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and lemon peel. It is cooked over low heat until the rice absorbs all the liquid and becomes creamy.
Arroz con leche is usually served cold or hot, with condensed milk on top and sprinkled with cinnamon. If you have the chance to try this Venezuelan dessert, don’t hesitate!
11. Mazamorra Morada
Mazamorra morada is a typical Peruvian dessert that has become popular in Venezuela over the years. It is prepared with purple maize, fruits such as pineapple, apple, pear, plum, and prunes. In addition, it contains panela (unrefined sugar cane), canelita (cinnamon stick), clove water, and lime juice.
This delicious pudding is usually eaten during the Day of the Dead celebrations, but can also be found throughout the year in Venezuelan supermarkets. The name mazamorra morada comes from the purple color of the dish, which is obtained thanks to the pigmentation of the purple maize.
Mazamorra morada is a very nutritious dessert and can be served with ice cream or whipped cream.
12. Tres Leches Cake
Tres leches cake is a popular Latin American dessert that’s made with three types of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk. The cake is soaked in the milk mixture, and is often served with a whipped cream topping.
Tres leches literally means “three milks.” It’s a popular dessert in Venezuela, and can be found in most bakeries. If you want to make it at home, you need to start with a sponge cake. Once the cake is baked, you poke holes in it and pour the milk mixture over top. Then, you let it soak for a few hours before topping it with whipped cream.
Tres leches cake is a delicious dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a party or just want something sweet to eat, tres leches cake is sure to please.
Quesillo is a Venezuelan dessert made with cheese and caramel. It’s often served with arepas or cachapas, and can also be found in most Venezuelan bakeries.
The cheese used in quesillo is similar to mozzarella, and is often sourced from local farms. To make the caramel, you need to simmer sugar and water until it forms a thick syrup. Once the cheese and caramel are combined, the mixture is poured into a mold and left to set.
Quesillo is a rich and decadent dessert that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re looking for something different, then quesillo is definitely worth trying.
Flan is a popular Venezuelan dessert made with eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. It’s similar to custard, and is often served with fruit or caramel sauce.
To make flan, you need to combine eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract in a saucepan and cook over low hear. Once the mixture has thickened, the flan is poured into a mold and chilled in the refrigerator.
Flan is a smooth and creamy dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for something simple or want to impress your guests, flan is sure to please.
15. Venezuelan Tizana
Tizana is a refreshing Venezuelan drink made with fruits, juice, and sugar. It’s often served as a dessert or snack, and can be found in most Venezuelan supermarkets.
The most popular fruits used in tizana are strawberries, papaya, and pineapple. To make the drink, the fruits are combined with juice and sugar, and then left to soak in for a few hours. Once it’s properly steeped, the tizana is ready to be enjoyed.
Tizana is a delicious and refreshing way to enjoy Venezuela’s abundant fruit supply. If you’re looking for a nice drink on a hot day, then tizana is definitely for you.
16. Chicha Venezolana
Chicha is a Venezuelan drink made with fermented corn, water, and sugar. It’s often served as a dessert or snack, and can be found in most Venezuelan supermarkets.
To make Chicha, the corn is fermented in water for a few days. Once it’s properly fermented, the corn is strained and combined with sugar and water. The mixture is then left to ferment for another day or two.
The locals often enjoy Chicha as a refreshing drink on a hot day. Traditionally, it’s served in a gourd, but you can also find it in plastic bags or bottles.
Cocadas are Venezuelan coconut candies that are made with grated coconut, milk, and sugar. They’re often dipped in chocolate or sprinkled with nuts, and can be found in most Venezuelan supermarkets.
To make Cocadas, the grated coconut is combined with milk and sugar in a saucepan. The mixture is then cooked over low heat until it thickens. Once it’s thickened, the cocadas are formed into balls and left to cool.
Children often enjoy cocadas as a treat, but they’re also popular among adults. If you’re looking for something sweet and coconutty, then cocadas are definitely worth trying.
Alfajor is a type of cookie that’s popular in Latin America. It’s made with two biscuits that are sandwiched together with a filling, usually dulce de leche or chocolate. Alfajores can be found in most Venezuelan supermarkets.
To make alfajor, the biscuits are sandwiched together with a filling of your choice. The sandwich is then dipped in chocolate or coated with nuts. Alfajores are typically round or oval-shaped, but they can also be made into different shapes and sizes.
Alfajor is a delicious and versatile cookie that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for something simple or want to impress your guests, alfajor is a great choice.
19. Bollos Pelones
Bollos pelones are Venezuelan cornmeal cakes that are made with water, sugar, and cornmeal. To make bollos pelones, the cornmeal is combined with water and sugar and cooked in a saucepan. Once it’s thickened, the bollos pelones are formed into balls and left to cool.
Following the tradition, bollos pelones are typically served with cheese or cream. However, they can also be enjoyed on their own as a delicious and satisfying snack.
Bollos pelones are a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways. If you’re looking for something sweet and tasty, they are definitely a delicious option.
20. Sopa de Mondongo or Panza (Mondongo soup)
In Venezuela, Sunday often means soup day. Hence, the main protagonist of the day is the Mondongo soup, a dish made with beef belly, accompanied by vegetables such as potato, pumpkin, ocumo, yucca and celery; vegetables such as coriander, celery and chives, seasoned with salt, onion, garlic and cumin.
The exact origin of this dish is unknown, while some historians indicate that it comes from Europe, others place it between Africa and the Middle East. In Spain there is a broth, based on tripe or belly, called Callos, and in Italy it is called Tripas. It is believed that these dishes were brought to America at the time of the conquest and from there they were fused with other American ingredients.
This boiled dish is usually accompanied by a corn arepita, roasted or fried. Each region gives the dish its own characteristic touch. In the Andes, Sopa de Mondongo is usually served with potato and ocumo, while in Zulia it is common to find mondongo with plantain and yucca. In Sucre and Bolívar they cook it with green banana.
21. Pastel de Chucho
Pastel de Chucho is typical dish of the insular region of Venezuela, specifically, Margarita Island. Created by Rubén Santiago, a cook from the state of Trujillo in 1982, it derives from the famous Cuajao de Oriente. It is said that it took him about 5 years of continuous rehearsals to polish the recipe we know today.
Pastel de Cucho is similar to Italian lasagna, made in layers with plantains, fish and bechamel sauce. You can find it in restaurants in Margarita and in Venezuelan homes. For its preparation, the popular ray (typical fish of the region), dogfish or tuna are used. Instead of wheat paste, fried plantains are used in slices, placed in blankets along with fish stew, Margariteño chili peppers, fresh yellow cheese and onoto oil.
In other states of the country it is made with some variations in which the fish is replaced by vegetables or chicken. It is a very popular dish and is consumed throughout the year.
23. Talkarí de Chivo
This dish is typical for the state of Mérida, specifically the municipality of Tovar. It is made with goat meat and a variety of spices that give it a unique flavor. The recipe is originally from India and was brought to Venezuela by Indian immigrants who settled in Mérida in the late 19th century.
To make this curry, the goat meat is cooked with onions, garlic, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric. Once the meat is cooked, it’s simmered in a sauce made with tomatoes, vinegar, water and more spices. The result is a rich and flavorful stew that’s perfect for any occasion.
It is consumed throughout the year, either in restaurants or in any Venezuelan home.
Bienmesabe is a sweet traditional dish which has been present in the country since colonial times. Originally from the Canary Islands, especially from the convents of the peninsulas, it has become a dessert of great demand in restaurants and homes.
Its origin dates back to the arrival of the Franciscan nuns in Caracas, capital of Venezuela. At that time it was mixed with coconut pulp and coconut water. This combination gave more consistency, flavor and sponginess to the cake.
The Franciscan nuns used to serve this delicious cake with a tea as a snack in the afternoons, and they also gave classes for its preparation. Despite the valuable contribution of other cultures, bienmesabe has become a native sweet of the country, merging with its gastronomy and history.
In Spain, specifically in Andalusia, there is an almond-based sweet called Bienmesabe Antequerano. It is made with angel hair and almond milk. While in Cadiz, Bienmesabe is a dish of fried fish in sauce. In Panama there is also a dish called Bienmesabe which consists of a sweet milk similar to arequipe.
The Venezuelan Bienmesabe is a variation of the Spanish Antequerano, to which coconut milk was added as a replacement for almond milk and sugar cane papier-mâché for refined sugar.
Golfeados are rolled sweet bread rolls, similar to cinnamon rolls. It is a typical sweet from the Altos Mirandinos, specifically from Carrizal in Venezuela. This delicious roll is made with wheat-sweet bread dough, stuffed with granulated sugar cane sugar, and hard white cheese.
The word Golfeado was born a few centuries ago in a coffee plantation called El Hoyo de las Tapias. The workers gave the bread that particular name, thanks to its resemblance to the coffee seed (golfiao), having the shape of a snail.
Bakers throughout history have added their personal touch to this sweet bread. Ingredients such as sweet anise and cinnamon, as well as topping such as slices of soft cheese, salted cheese, and even melted chocolate, have been added to the variations.
It is a Venezuelan custom to go up to Colonia Tovar (a town founded by Germans, located in Aragua, 20 minutes from Caracas) or to Los Teques, in Miranda state just to taste the famous golfeados.
There you have it! Of course there are many more amazing and delicious Venezuelan delicacies, but I hope you enjoyed my list with some of the most popular ones. So if you’re ever in Venezuela, be sure to try some of these delicious foods. And if you can’t make it to Venezuela, don’t worry – you can always try making some of these dishes at home. Bon appetit!