In a recent column for Eater, Robert Siestema took a look at the bourgeoning Venezuelan food scene in the city, noting that the cuisine, once virtually unknown here, has seen a huge boom since Caracas opened in the East Village 12 years ago. (I can personally credit Caracas with introducing me to the glory that are Venezuelan arepa sandwiches back in 2007). Today, he reports, the city boasts more than 20 Venezuelan eateries – and that number is rapidly growing.
Over the years, we’ve been covering a lot of these spots, which serve up everything from the popular arepas to patacon sandwiches (which use tostones instead of bread), and elaborate hot dogs heaped with decadent toppings like crushed up potato chips, cheese, and salsa. But it’s interesting to take a step back and realize that these restaurants represent a growing food movement in the city – much the way we’ve seen a boom in the number of restaurants highlighting regional Mexican cuisine.
There are a couple of reasons why Venezuelan cuisine may have taken off. Siestema posits that it got a boost from the gluten-free trend of the aughts (arepas are made with corn). It also doesn’t hurt that we’ve seen an influx of Venezuelan immigration in recent years, in the wake of the nation’s social and economic turmoil. But at the end of the day, it’s probably because the food is yummy, filling, and relatively inexpensive.
Below, check out some articles from our archive, covering Venezuelan spots in the city to check out:
- Arepa Wars: Best Arepas in New York City
- A Little Piece of Venezuelan Heaven: Patacones Come to the LES
- 6 Latin Eats to Try at Rockaway Beach