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11/13/2008

On The Side > On The Side

OFF THE GRIDDLE

 

You may not have ever sampled the El Salvadoran pupusa, but if youíve enjoyed Venezuelan arepas or Mexican gorditas, then youíre likely familiar with the Central American nationís most popular food staple. The puffed rounds are such delicious little numbers that every Nov. 13, El Salvador celebrates National Pupusa Day.

At Las Delicias Grill, the savory pancake-like corn tortilla ($2.50) is stuffed with soft cheese and, optionally, chicharron (ground pork) and refried beans, then grilled and served with a smooth red salsa and crunchy curtido, a type of pickled cabbage akin to sauerkraut. Youíll also find heating trays with an assortment of soups and stews Ė if you just happen to be suffering from a hangover, the menudo ($5.99) is an appropriate remedy. A clear broth with honeycomb tripe, cassava, potatoes, zucchini and corn on the cob, its heat resuscitates sobriety. Youíll also find tasty beef empanadas ($1.99) served with a zingy green hot sauce, tacos and rotisserie chicken.

The 26-seat pupuseria is a popular spot with Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan men craving home cooking, though itís a little hard to find. Just look for the Las Americas supermarket in the nondescript strip mall on Semoran just south of Lake Underhill, and youíll find it situated in the corner of the plaza, adjacent to the Latin grocer. The scene in front of the eatery resembles a street-corner setting in San Salvador, while inside, pupusa-pacified men shoot stick while wistfully singing to native tunes emanating from the jukebox. Note: Credit cards are not accepted; cash only.

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