Yesterday, I discovered a new local restaurant. It’s a pupuseria! What is that? It’s a restaurant that makes and sells pupusas!
What are pupusas? Pupusas are a native food of El Salvador. It’s not much different from many other foods in this part of the world. The ingredients are similar to a lot of other native foods.
There is a corn-based masa (the dough). A handful of masa is taken and rolled into a ball. A thumb is inserted and filling is added into the cavity.
The filling choices include cheese, refried beans, cheese and refried beans, pork skin, refried beans and pork rind, and maybe a couple of other assorted choices (which we would never choose!). We only like the cheese and refried beans.
After inserting the filling, the masa ball is flattened a bit so that it looks like a small/medium-sized pancake and it is cooked on a flat grill. It takes about 10 minutes from order to table. Each pupusa is priced at $10 pesos or about 80 cents (USD).
Finally, they have a topping called “curtida.” This is grated cabbage, carrots, a bit of vinegar, oregano, table pepper, and in this restaurant, a bit of finely chopped serrano pepper which gives it a nice kick. Curtida is place on top of the pupusa and one can eat it with a fork or with one’s hands. The plate comes with a fork so that is the clue as to what is preferred.
They don’t seem to have many clients so we’re not sure how long it will be a viable business, but hopefully, we can do our part and keep them in business. BTW, Beth ate two and I ate four. We were both comfortably full. It was a real treat, and including what probably was considered a generous tip (this always helps for future service and requests!), we ate with a couple cans of Coke for about $8 for both of us. Can’t beat that!
The owner is a Salvadoran woman who came to San Juan with her husband 32 years ago. He has worked in the local paper factory (Kimberly-Clark) all these years and 3 weeks ago, she opened up this little restaurant. I suspect we’ll get to know them better since we expect to be regular customers. They did not know what a Bible church is, but their shops wasn’t adorned with shrines either. Hopefully, we’ll have future opportunities to have more spiritually-weighted conversations with them.
They were so tasty (and I hadn’t had breakfast), that I barely remembered to take a picture until the last half of pupusa #4!