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A Beginner's Guide To Salvadorian Cuisine

Side effects may include excessive mouth-watering.

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When it comes to Salvadorian food, this is square one. These delights are the undisputed national dish of El Salvador. Pupusas are handmade from corn flour which are then filled with delectable ingredients such as cheese, beans, or pork (also known as chicharron).

Curtido & Salsa / Via

These sides are insepreable (think Bey and Jay status). Curtido is basically a Salvadorian sauerkraut made of cabbage, carrots and onions. This slaw is then topped with a savory salsa. Pupusas are never served without these two by their side.

Tamales de Gallina/Pollo


Various countries in Latin America have their own variation of chicken tamales. In El Salvador these pillows of savory dough are typically filled with ingredients like chicken, chickpeas, and potato. They are then wrapped in banana leaves which enhances their flavor and give the tamales an incredible aroma.

Tamales de Elote


These tamales are made with corn, sugar, salt, butter and then wrapped in corn leaves. They taste a little more sweet than savory and are typically served alongside cheese or sour cream. For an added crunch they are sometimes fried... and who doesn't love anything fried, am I right?



Yes, I know what you maybe thinking, "Doesn't 'pastel' mean 'cake' in Spanish?"

Well in El Salvador pastel also stands for an empanada-like dish filled with chicken or beef with potatoes, onions and carrots. What makes the Salvadorian pastel unique is the use of achiote powder which gives the dough a reddish/orange color.



Vietnam has the Bánh Mì, El Salvador has Panes. Panes are french bread rolls (pan frances) stuffed with chicken, watercress, tomato, cucumber, radishes and a tasty tomato sauce. For Salvadorians, these sandwiches go HARD during the holidays.



This seafood stew is like royalty. Like I'm talking an Iron Throne, Khaleesi type of stew. It includes clams, shrimp, crab, fish, lobster and squid. Add some lime and you'll see why its absolutely poppin'.

Queso Seco/ Queso Duro


Like parmesan, this hard cheese is packed with flavor so a little goes a long way. It tastes similar to feta cheese and can be eaten with anything from eggs to tamales. In El Salvador it's common to grate this cheese and sprinkle it over french fries.



These balls of fried dough are made with yuca/cassava flour. They are then coated with a warm syrup made of panela. Serve with a side of coffee and they make a perfect dessert after eating all those Pupusas.


Latinaish / Via

Chocobananos are sweet popsicles that are both delicious and easy to make. Basically, they are frozen bananas dipped in hot melted chocolate. You may be able to find the melting chocolate at a grocery store that sells Central American products.

Atol de Elote


This delicious drink dates back to the ancient Mayans. Atol de elote is a sweet, thick, hot beverage made of milk, corn and cinnamon. There are other types of atol including pineapple and mango flavors.

Empanadas de Leche


Now these babies are too good to pass up. Empanadas are made with mashed, ripe plantains stuffed with a sweet milk custard. Once they are rolled into little balls, they are fried and sprinkled with sugar. They can be eaten for dessert, breakfast, midnight snack...basically anytime you feel like it.

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