The Best And Wackiest Foods To Try In Venezuela

Alexandra Baumhardt

The diversity of flavors in Venezuela is a direct reflection of the country itself – the Afro-Caribbean north, the mountainous, Andean west, the caballeros of the central plains and the Amazon in the south. We check out the greatest and strangest dishes to try.

A wall full of flavors at Coromoto Ice Cream

Drink Levantón Andino in Merida

The western Venezuela city of Merida is the country’s adventure capital. Tucked into a northern range of the Andes Mountains, it’s a haven for climbers, hikers and students from the country’s largest university. The drink that keeps them going requires a pension for exploration and a young recklessness given it’s 26, stomach-curdling ingredients. At Merida’s Mercado Principal, a woman named Maria Luisa Rangel whips up the energy and aphrodisiac smoothie called Levantón Andino. She uses ingredients like red wine, milk powder, rum, quail eggs in-shell, an ox’s eyeball and fish eggs. Each ingredient came from a member of her family and Maria claims every component has a special power, be it improving vision (the eyeball) or increasing fertility (the fish eggs).

Coromoto

Taste Pabellon Criollo

Pabellon Criollo is Venezuela’s national dish, a plate of shredded beef, beans, rice and plantains. But along Venezuela’s Caribbean coast and during the Catholic fast of Lent, the dish takes on strange and exotic new ingredients. On the island of Margarita, in the Venezuelan Caribbean, the beef is interchangeable with cazon, a two-meter-long school shark. This shark is also popular on the island as a filling in fried corn dumplings called empanadas.
During lent, you can also find the beef in your Pabellon swapped for capybara, also known in Venezuela as chigüire, the largest rodent in the world. The animal is about the size of a warthog and looks like a guinea pig. Many Catholics are forbidden from eating meat over lent, and with the exception of fish, insist capybara is a fair substitute as the flavor is more akin to salted fish. In light of this, in the 18th century, local clergy from the central Venezuelan city of San Fernando de Apure even petitioned the Vatican to dub the mammal a fish. It is a popular Easter dish in many parts of Venezuela as well.

Pabellón Criollo is also made with Capybara (known as Chigüire in Venezuela)

Experience Extreme Flavour with Catara Hot Sauce

In what is, perhaps, one of the spiciest sauces to come out of an ant’s rear end, Catara hot sauce made in the Venezuelan Amazon is famous for packing a hot punch. Made from chili pepper, yucca, tamarind and the poison that comes out of the tail of the bachaco (leafcutter) ant, the sauce is also considered an aphrodisiac. This adds real credence to the adage that there’s no pain, no gain.

See and Taste the Goliath Birdeater

Perhaps Catara is best served atop the world’s largest spider, also found in the Venezuelan Amazon. It’s called the goliath birdeater, a tarantula that can reach the size of a dinner plate and which tackles its pray with venomous fangs. Native Piaroa peoples in Venezuela’s Amazonas State hunt and roast the spiders over fire until the critters make popping noises from the air escaping their joints. When finished, the tarantulas are seasoned and have the flavor of crabmeat.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article