Around the World in Houston: Discover Venezuela

Photo courtesy of Tepuy Venezuelan Community of Houston

With a labyrinth of cultures represented in every nook and cranny of town, Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America. To celebrate this world-class melting pot, we’ll be exploring a new region of the globe through a Houston lens each week, from annual festivals and museums to restaurants and cultural experiences. Join the journey with our Around the World in Houston series.

From an annual Viva Venezuela festival and Latin arts experiences to eateries serving up standout arepas and pabellón criollo, here’s how to experience Venezuelan culture in Houston.

Annual Festivals & Cultural Events

  • Festival Viva Venezuela This annual festival celebrates Venezuelan culture and tradition via food, drink, music, and community. The 2018 festival is set for Saturday, September 15 at Houston City Hall.
  • Houston Latin Fest Celebrate Latin heritage through music and dance, art, food, and drink at this multi-cultural festival.
  • Houston Latino Film Festival Enjoy cinema without borders at this non-profit film festival, which screens films from all over Latin America, as well as Spain, Portugal, and the U.S.
  • Carnaval Américas This event showcases Latin American countries represented in Houston and surrounding communities, with live music, authentic eats, and culture.

Museums & Cultural Organizations

Venezuelan Food & Drink

Restaurants & Food Trucks

  • Andes Cafe This colorful East End kitchen spans the lands of South America, meaning you can find authentic and delicious Venezuelan specialties like huevos pericos, arepa stuffed with carne mechada, pepito sandwiches, and arroz con coco (Venezuelan rice pudding).
  • Arepa Grill Find this food truck to indulge in authentic Venezuelan street food—think arepas and patacones, burgers and pepitos, and parrillas and hot dogs.
  • Arepa Station This mobile eatery dishes out arepas stuffed with things like carne mechada (shredded beef) and pernil (pork shoulder).
  • Arepa Xpress Over in Spring, this daily café offers a variety of cachapas, patacon, tequeño, and arepas with queso de mano, ham and eggs, avocado and chicken salad, roast pork and more. Don’t miss the cachitos, Venezuelan-style kolache.
  • Deli’s Cafe This Katy gas station café offers traditional breakfasts, arepas, pastelitos and more.
  • Doña Maria Restaurante Hit this Humble restaurant to savor traditional Venezuelan and Mexican eats, from sweet corn cachapas and patacones with queso de mano to pabellón criollo with shredded beef, black beans, rice, fried plantain, and arepa.
  • El Kourmet This Katy-based food truck and arepa bar offers a variety of Venezuelan street eats, from burgers and dogs to arepas and cachapas.
  • Gordi’s Arepas & More Head to Downtown’s Conservatory food hall to enjoy handmade arepas with gourmet fillings from Berkshire pork belly and Venezuelan cheese to shredded flank steak and sweet plantain.
  • Gusto GourmetYou’ll find Venezuelan and Mediterranean fusion at this Montrose haunt, with Venezuelan specialties ranging from shredded chicken arepas and tequeños filled with guava and cheese to pabellón and quesillo (caramel flan).
  • Latino Bites Express This Pearland joint offers tequeños, arepas and more.
  • Pastel Gourmet Head to Spring to dig into arepas, pasteles, puff pastry, pabellón criollo, and Venezuelan cheese sticks.
  • Pastelitos Cafe Experience Latin and European flavors at this Energy Corridor café, with house specials including Venezuelan pabellón criollo, arepas, and pastelitos (puff pastries) filled with things like black beans and sweet guava cheese.
  • Sabor VenezolanaYou’ll find arepita dulce, shredded beef arepas, and cheese pastelitos at this roaming food truck.
  • Sazon LatinoGet a sample of Venezuelan street eats via arepas, hamburguesa, perro caliente, tequeños, cachapas and more.
  • Tasty Arepa This food truck rocks some of tastiest arepas and patacones in town.

Grocery Stores & Bakeries

  • Tuttopane Artesanal Bakery and Café This Venezuelan bakery and café offer treats like canilla bread, baguette and sweets like Golfeados (Venezuelan sticky buns). You’ll also find breakfast and lunch plates, from cachitos and arepas to soups to scrambles.
  • Fiesta Mart With locations across Houston, Fiesta offers a lively atmosphere and no shortage of flavor. Shop for locally-sourced produce, fresh meats and seafood, baked goods, and grocery items like fruit nectars and frijoles.

Language Classes, Education Centers, Groups & Meet-Ups

  • Habla Houston Learn to speak Spanish through weekly classes, interactive meetups and more.
  • Spanish over CoffeeBrush up on your Spanish language skills with all-level classes that help you learn through conversation. Program experiences include dinner parties, game nights, scavenger hunts, and grocery shopping.
  • The Houston Spanish Language Meetup This language group is open to anyone interested in practicing and improving their conversational skills in Spanish, with meetups offered throughout the week.
  • Latin Women’s Initiative This nonprofit organization strives to make difference in the lives of Latin women and their families by providing both financial and volunteer support to several local nonprofit organizations in the Houston community.
  • Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice Known as HACER for short, this Rice University student group sponsors social and cultural events.
  • GCSW Hispanic Student Association at University of Houston The Hispanic Student Association of the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work represents a community of students committed to the principles of empowerment, solidarity, and social justice for Hispanics.

Other Notables

  • El Venezolano de Houston This Houston-based media company offers print and online publications that inform, connect and engage with Hispanics in Houston and near areas. Lookout for a lineup of events, including social mixers.
  • Minute Maid Park Fans of Venezuela’s most popular sport can get their baseball fix by catching an Astros game at Minute Maid Park.
  • Club Tropicana Dance the night away to Latin music at this popular nightclub, which hosts musical acts, DJs and specials like ladies night.
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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .