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Venezuela Cuisine


Venezuelan cuisine's trademark is its variety, a result of the mixture between European, African and indigenous foods. Arguably, the arepa is the most famous dish. It is eaten mainly as a side dish or as a breakfast (or dinner) food, in which case it is served with different fillings. Other well-known dishes are the pabellón criollo, the hallaca, the sancocho y the parrilla.

Due to its territory, its diversity of agricultural resources and the cultural multiplicity of the Venezuelan people, Venezuelan cuisine often varies greatly from one region to another.

The most common foods by region could be broadly classified as follows:

• Eastern states (Oriente), south eastern-states (Guayana) and northern states (Caribe): a wide gamut of fresh- and saltwater fish, seafood and crustaceans; tubers such as yucca, yam and cocoyam; cereals such as corn and rice; beef -especially in the southern Llanos, where several sorts of soft, white cheese are also produced (guayanés, de mano, crineja, etc.); fresh vegetables and fruit (lettuce, tomatoes, plantains). Dishes show Arab and Indian influences.

• Western states (occidente): common meats include goat (usually prepared with coconut) and rabbit; extensive use of plantains and a variety of cheeses. Dishes are influenced by the local tribes as well as by Colombian cuisine.

• Central region: mainly poultry, beef, pork, fish (stewed or boiled), rice, pasta, and salads. Influence from Europe (Spain in particular) as well as from other Venezuelan regions is readily noticeable.
• Llanos: beef and game (deer, chigüire, lapa, morrocoy, etc.), mostly grilled or roasted; corn (in the form of cachapas), cheese and other milk derivates.

• Andean region: potatoes and other tubers, wheat; beef, lamb and chicken; not much fish as the region doesn't have a coastal line -the exception being trout, which is raised on fish farms. Dishes show Euopean and native Andean peoples' influences.

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