VENEZUELA: FOOD

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Venezuela = Arepa. Some men I know can eat three of these for breakfast. Me, on the other hand, I ate about one quarter at the Caracas airport and snacked on it the rest of the day in Maturin. Above pictured: Arepa Con Queso Tellita

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Upon arriving in Maturin, I really needed something to fill my vegetarian void…beans and rice will come later. For now, give me a fresh salad with some mashed potatoes.

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My typical lunch here: Lentils, rice, and some soy/tofu concoction. Delicious.

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Added in: Chinese sesame-flavored potatoes. Awesome.

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Nestle bought out the Savoy company and here is one of the most popular candy bars in Venezuela. The “Cri Cri.” Think Nestle “Crunch.”

JAN13. Caracas & Maturin, Venezuela.

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MATURIN: SUPERMARKET NOT SO “SUPER”

I went grocery shopping last Saturday night at La Cascada, a chain supermarket here in Maturin. Inflation is one of the things killing this country and I just heard today that the black market price is up as much as 21 Bolivares to 1 USD. The “official” legal exchange rate is about 4.30 Bolivares to 1 USD! And it is going up almost every week – they say Venezuela is on track to have the highest inflation rate in the world this year. I mentioned in a previous post, that one of my first impressions of this place was the feeling of “Cuba.” And the supermarket experience kind of heightened that feeling. The queues were massive. So many people trying to ‘load up’ on some food. There was no rice to be had in the market. Sugar is being rationed. No oils. The meat freezer was long, yet empty except for three packages. Peanut butter cost me the equivalent of about $12 USD (but I had to have it. It’s the only thing I can guarantee will give me some protein, as our fridges and cupboards are sparse.)

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The meat freezer. Where’s the meat?
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Lengthy queues. It can take hours to make a purchase.
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This is what their shopping carts look like. And they use small plastic bags to pack just a few grocery items, so a lot of plastic bags get used.
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My $12-15 USD regular-sized jar of peanut butter, depending upon which exchange rate you’re looking at. I searched it for gold flakes, but alas, there were none.

12JAN13. Maturin, Venezuela.