Instead of bread, most Venezuelans eat arepas. Arepas are fried or baked corn or wheat pancakes, often filled with meat, eggs or cheese. They are so popular that there are food stands, called areperas, that specialize in making arepas. Similar foods include cachapas (sweet corn pancakes usually filled with cheese), tequenos (fried dough combined with cheese), empanadas (hearty cheese-filled pastries) and pan de jamon, long bread filled with ham, olives and raisins.
Meat is another important part of Venezuelan cuisine. One common dish, sancocho (a meat and vegetable stew) is usually served with arepas and toasted cassava. One of Venezuela's national dishes is pabellon criollo, which is made with flank steak, black beans, rice and fried plantains (cooking bananas). Mondogo is another popular dish. It is a thick soup made from tripe and vegetables.
Guavas in syrup with cream cheese, and strawberries with cream are common Venezuelan desserts. Majarete, a coconut custard, and quesillo, an egg custard, are favorite desserts. Locally grown fresh fruits include papayas, watermelons, mangoes, bananas, pineapples, guavas, oranges and strawberries.
The largest meal in Venezuela is eaten between noon and 3 PM. Many Venezuelans go home to eat lunch with their families. Venezuelans eat a light supper at 8 PM or later.