Pupusas: A Traditional Delight

There is nothing more delightful than a homemade meal with friends and family. Especially when that meal is one of the most famous in Central America. There is a warm feeling received knowing you’re about to eat good when you step into the home of Yanira Alfaro,  the chef of Salvadorean Pupusas .

Location and History 

Pupusas have been a common dish to El Salvador since the tribal eras. The pre-Colombian pupusas were said to be filled with vegetables and herbs  whereas now they are filled with meat, beans, and cheese. In cities like San Salvador, Pupusa stands are set up all across the city and represent the culture of the country. Whereas they first began as a native food the the indigenous Pipil Tribe, they are now popular throughout all of Central America.

It’s hard to keep track of how many pupusas I already ate!

— Emily Alfaro


The Main Food:

A pupusa takes on the appearance of a tortilla. However, it is anything but that. It is the result of fried beans, chicharron, and cheese melted inside two thin slices of dough. Made of handmade flour, when cooked, the pupusa tastes as good as it smells. Its commonly served straight off the stove, or placed in aluminum foil to be eaten later, but always warm or hot. It is a handful of work, yet because of the few ingredient used, it is inexpensive and delicious.

No matter what you eat, there’s always curtido on the table in El Salvador.

— Pablo Alfaro

The Side Items:

The “Curtido“, or cole saw, is made up of cabbage, carrots, onions, and lots of vinegar. It gives pupusas the perfect, fresh tangy crunch. If you eat the pupusas without the curtido, your’re doing it all wrong. In El Salvador, curtido is served almost everywhere with almost anything. However, the curtido is not the only side dish that accompanies the pupusas. In order to properly eat a pupusa the “Salvadorean Way,” salsa roja (which translates to red sauce) and iced tea is needed. The tomato sauce, made of tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro and jalapenos, is always served at room temperature. Meanwhile the iced tea is served ice cold, no matter what time of year it is. All together, these make the perfect Salvadorean dish.

Customer Service:

The best part of eating pupusas at this place is the setting of Yanira Alfaro’s home. Upon knocking on the door you’re confronted by two vicious lions… or rather two teacup sized dogs. The home always has a welcome and warm feeling. Usually in the Hispanic culture, when food is offered there is no such thing as “no, thank you.” This Salvadorean home is no exception. While enjoying the delicia of the endless food, the entire time is filled with laughter and pure joy.

Bottom Line: 

If you get the chance, don’t pass it up! Try pupusas! They are a unique food from a unique country. It is unlikely to find on an everyday menu. The next time you have a choice to dine out, skip the greasy, fattening burger and go for pupusas instead!

What's your favorite part of the Pupusa meal?

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