Food and Drink
Venezuela has a variety of traditional dishes which are found in nearly all local restaurants. Most are fried maize or wheatflour based pancakes or breads. The most common meat dishes in Venezuela are fried and grilled fish and meats usually served with rice. Generally, beef and chicken are most popular, though other meats such as goat are preferred in certain regions. Pork is eaten mostly at Christmas. The huge variety of fish includes trout, red snapper, dorado, parrot fish, catfish and the baby shark (cazon). Oysters, clams and other shellfish are also widely enjoyed.
There is an abundance of fruits in Venezuela. Mango, papaya (lechosa), avocado (aguacate) oranges (naranja), banana (cambur) coconut (coco), passionfruit (parchita), melon (melón), pineapple (piña), guava (guayaba) and soursap (guanábana) are just a few.
Besides all the traditional Venezuelan dishes, a wide variety of world cuisines are available in the country. Caracas has everything from Italian to Chinese. Generally, a 10% service charge is added to restaurant bills, and it is usual to give an additional tip of around 5%. Several fast-food chains are common in larger towns, and burger and hot-dog vendors are found on many street corners.
| Some traditional Venezuelan dishes are:
A plain fried corn pancake. They are filled with almost anything, including eggs and tomato for breakfast, beef, chicken, ham, sausage, shrimp, cheese, salad and even baby shark.
Deep-fried cornmeal turnover filled with chicken, ham, cheese, fish (baby shark included) or meat.
Hot croissant filled with chopped ham and or cheese.
Thick, slightly sweet pancake made with maize and served with mozzarella-type cheese (queso guayanesa).
Traditional christmas dish made from chopped beef, pork and chicken with green peppers, onion, garlic, tomatoes, raisins, olives and various herbs and spices all mixed into maize dough. It is then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.
Venezuelas national dish, consisting of shredded beef, black beans (caraotas negras) and cheese, served with fried plantain (cooking banana) and rice.
Fresh fruit juices are readily available, as are batidos, a thicker juice, and milkshakes (merengada).
Sugar cane juice with lemon (papelón con limón) and fresh coconut milk are also on offer. Beer is ubiquitous, and the most popular brand is Polar. Rum, the commonly found spirit, comes in several varieties and is mixed with coke to make Cuba Libre, a favourite drink amongst Venezuelans.
Coffee is domestically produced in Venezuela and is the most common hot beverage. It is always offered to visitors as a welcome drink.
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