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Authentic Pupusas at El Salvadoran restaurants

Authentic Pupusas at El Salvadoran restaurants
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  • Authentic Pupusas at El Salvadoran restaurants

    Post #1 - October 20th, 2005, 4:44 pm
    Post #1 - October 20th, 2005, 4:44 pm Post #1 - October 20th, 2005, 4:44 pm
    Hi, have heard that El Savador has a food item called a pupusas. Wondering what are people's favorite El Salvadoran restaurants that serve pupusas?

    I found this description of them:
    A pupusa, the national snack of El Salvador, is made of two corn tortillas thinly stuffed with meat, beans, and cheese (or various permutations thereof), topped with tomato sauce and "curtido," a pickled-cabbage relish somewhere between cole slaw and sauerkraut, with a dash of hot pepper. It is an unwritten rule that Salvadoran men talk about pupusas, but only women actually make them. The discussion, with its overlay of Latin fatalism and mother-love, is somewhat similar to the discourse around chili con carne. Instead of "My chili is the best in the world, and everyone else's is unfit for donkeys," we have something like, "My mother's pupusas are the best in the world, but these will have to do for today."
  • Post #2 - October 20th, 2005, 5:25 pm
    Post #2 - October 20th, 2005, 5:25 pm Post #2 - October 20th, 2005, 5:25 pm
    In the thread Pupuseria El Salvador (w/pics), ReneG wrote:
    Pupusas and Curtido

    These are a treat, as are the chorizos.

    I haven't had them elsewhere, but a search for pupus* (restricted to the eating out in chicagoland section) returned many hits, including To Know Salvadoran Food Is to Love Salvadoran Food
  • Post #3 - October 21st, 2005, 8:39 am
    Post #3 - October 21st, 2005, 8:39 am Post #3 - October 21st, 2005, 8:39 am
    For those in the far north suburbs, good pupusa can be had at Pupuseria El Guanaco in Waukegan. I've only been once, about a year ago, and I haven't ever had pupusas anywhere else, but I enjoyed these very much, along witha nice ceviche.

    Pupuseria El Guanaco
    916 Greenwood Ave.
  • Post #4 - October 22nd, 2005, 9:39 am
    Post #4 - October 22nd, 2005, 9:39 am Post #4 - October 22nd, 2005, 9:39 am
    I've not yet been to the place way south, Though I really really would like to get down there.

    One place I thought I'd mention which doesn't get talked about very much here but is well worth a visit is

    1669 Oakton St
    Des Plaines
    (847) 803-6180
    open till about 9

    its just around the corner from Paradise Pup, if you want to top of your pupusas with a burger

    Also, not quite as good, but having some pretty nice guatemalan tamales is cafe las delicias on Western just a little north of Lawrence. (East Side of the Street)
    Last edited by zim on January 16th, 2007, 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #5 - October 22nd, 2005, 6:43 pm
    Post #5 - October 22nd, 2005, 6:43 pm Post #5 - October 22nd, 2005, 6:43 pm
    My pupusa envy has been abated. Maple Leaf was so kind to drop a word on Pupuseria el Guanaco in Waukegan yesterday in response to Psychchef’s inquiry. So last night I drove up to Waukegan to sample some pupusas with my Mother.

    Pupuseria el Guanaco is in neighborhood off the beaten track, you will want to consult a map program to guide you there. The location looks like it was a former local watering hole, but inside it is pure family restaurant. Initially, the program on television was in Spanish, but in deference to us apparently they switched to Food TV. Since I don’t get cable at home, this was real entertainment for us. We lucked out to see some of Rachel Ray’s early programs before she changed, or is it her audience who changed, into fingernails scratching a chalkboard personality. (If you disagree, don’t take me to task, this is what I gather from reading this thread!)

    Pupuseria el Guanaco translated means Salvadorean Pupusas. From their menu:
    A Pupusa is a tortilla made with corn or rice filled with cheese, pork, beans, mixed with pork and bean or beans and cheese. They are eaten with Curtido which is a type of salad made with cabbage. There are those who prefer to eat them with salsa made from natural tomatoes. The most common (pupusas) are those made of corn. The ones made of rice are usually eaten outside the capital of San Salvador.

    They offer corn flour or rice flour pupusas with the same choices of fillings: “with everything: beans, cheese and pork,” cheese and pork, only cheese and Loroco with cheese. While I don’t have a picture of Loroco, I learned it is a green flower cultivated in Salvador and Guatemala used as a key ingredient for El Salvadorian Pupusa. It’s taste has been suggested as a cross between asparagus and chocolate.

    We were advised when ordering pupusas to expect a crunchier crust from the rice-flour than then corn-flour. We ordered, from left to right, corn flour pupusa with everything, rice flour pupusa with cheese only and corn flour pupusa with Loroco with cheese.


    Of course it came with a very generous quantity of Curtido.


    We also tried their Tamales de Elote con o sin Crema, Sweet Corn Tamal with or without sour cream, which was sweet and cakey in texture. The sour cream was obviously soured cream with a bit more tang than what I normally encouter and a more fluid texture. I inquired if the sour cream was made on the premises, it wasn’t but it is bought from a Honduran woman who makes it herself. I couldn’t get a clear explanation of how she made it, it suggested she took milk from Honduras and mixed it with cream. I suggested cultures were added, which they disagreed, though I am sure some culture was likely introduced. In any case, like our experience with the south side pupuseria, there is a non-massed produced sour cream available here.


    What ostensibly became dessert was Empandas de Leche o Frijoles, an order of 3 sweet fried plantains stuffed with milk or beans covered with sugar. I had them bring us 2 of the milk and one of the bean. I later learned someone would order just this with a cup of coffee for a light meal. When I bit into these, there was an unusual taste, which I could not put my finger on though it reminded me of cinnamon red hots. After some discussion of the ingrediants, I concluded it was simply the plantains and maybe their level of ripeness when they were prepared.


    While my Mom had Tiki, a pineapple drink from Guatemala. I stuck with my favored Mexican Coke. Reading through the drinks I saw Atol de Elote or hot drink made from Milk and Corn. I recall my pleasant experiences with champurrado last year at the Last Minuteathon, although stuffed to the gills I told Mom this was drink to try. Since they noticed I was taking pictures, they offered to serve in the traditional vessel (a hollowed gourd) instead of a coffee cup:


    Thanks again Maple Leaf for transporting Mother and I on quite a grand eating adventure. We will be back again with renewed appetite to try the remainder of the menu.

    Pupuseria el Guanaco
    916 Greenwood Avenue
    Waukegan, IL 60085
    (847) 599-1285
    Monday – Closed
    Tues-Weds: 2 PM – 8 PM
    Thursday-Sunday: 11 AM – 10 PM
    Last edited by Cathy2 on July 14th, 2007, 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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  • Post #6 - October 25th, 2005, 7:23 pm
    Post #6 - October 25th, 2005, 7:23 pm Post #6 - October 25th, 2005, 7:23 pm
    I was a little ticked off when I was in town last and trucked it down to Pupuseria El Salvador on a Tuesday to find out they were closed. Tacos del Pacifico made up for it in a huge way, but I couldn't get the pupusas off my mind.

    Working in Des Plaines this time around, I decided to go to Rinconcito Hispano on Oakton St. They have 4 fillings for their pupusas: cheese, loroco, chicharron/cheese, and straight chicharron. I opted for a cheese, loroco and chicharron/cheese. Served with the curtido (coleslaw), hot sauce (not quite hot enough, but decent) and a mild sauce (which tasted like your typical Pace/ElPaso salsa). I'd never had loroco before, but it was pretty good, a little asparagus-ish. Dude there described it as being similar to zucchini flower but different in taste. Anyways, these were very good pupusas, although I can't compare to the other 2 places (El Salvador and Guanaco), but generally I base my judgement on masa intensity.

    I think it's outrageous that these things only cost ~$1.50 when they're always made-to-order with a lady (don't think I've ever seen a man make them) flipping & flapping them around for what seems like 15 mins.

    The fun never stops eating in this town.
  • Post #7 - October 28th, 2005, 8:41 am
    Post #7 - October 28th, 2005, 8:41 am Post #7 - October 28th, 2005, 8:41 am

    I'm glad you checked out rinconcito hispano. Its a nice little place. One of my favorite side dishes anywhere is the order of black beans (I love their beans) fried plantains and crema.
  • Post #8 - October 30th, 2005, 9:17 pm
    Post #8 - October 30th, 2005, 9:17 pm Post #8 - October 30th, 2005, 9:17 pm
    thanks for all the action on papusa's!!