Dunlaps in San Salvador

Online journal of the Dunlaps' adventures in San Salvador.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Foods in El Salvador

This is Bea's description of her favorite Salvadoran foods. I taught Bea's brother two years ago. So many of my students now (around one-third) are siblings of former students. Bea is a happy young lady who puts a lot of effort into her studies. As she told me, "I don't like 80s..."

Pupusas. Elote Loco. Semita. Se me hace agua la boca solo con pensar en ellas. (My mouth waters just thinking about them.) These are just a few of the foods Salvadorans love to eat, whether it’s a Friday night at home with friends or Sunday afternoon with the whole family. These foods can be enjoyed during carnivals or on a daily basis, but the most craved foods are the street foods. Mango. Platanitos. Pastelitos de Chucho. They all have a taste no Salvadoran can resist.

Pupusas are the typical food here in El Salvador. They are made of corn, just like tortillas, except they have an ingredient in them like cheese or frijoles, or sometimes both. They can be eaten with a red sauce made of tomatoes and with “curtido,” which is cabbage with carrots and vinegar and sometimes a spicy condiment. They are typically enjoyed on a Sunday night with the family.

Literally Elote Loco is “crazy corn,” and in a way it is. It is usually sold on the streets during various carnivals. It is a whole corn on a stick with ketchup, mayonnaise, and cheese. As weird as the cobination sounds, it is delicious!! If you ever visit El Salvador you can’t leave without "crazy corn."

Semita is usually enjoyed after any meal with a cup of coffee. It is sweet bread that has some sort of jelly in it, like pineapple or guava.

Every Salvadoran goes crazy for street foods. I have no idea what different ingredient they have in them or what vendors do to prepare them, but they definitely have a different taste than any other foods. Mango is usually sold in a plastic bag. It is cut in long stripes that makes it look like spaghetti. The stripped mango is eaten with lots of lemon, salt, and chili.

Platanitos are fried plantains. As well as mangoes, they are eaten with lemon, salt, and chili. This is no surprise. We Salvadorans love to add lemon to everything we eat, from fruits to tortillas to steaks.

Pastelitos de Chucho mean dog empanadas, but don’t worry. They are not made of dog meat; it’s just a name! They are exactly like chimichangas, but for example in Ahuachapan they are mini chimichangas served with a hot red sauce and “curtido." They are not served on plates, but they are served in plastic bags just like mango or platanitos.

This is just a small example of the kind of foods we love. You can also infer what type of people we are: pupusas on a Sunday night with the family, lemon added to everything we eat, pastelitos de chucho meaning dog empanadas. We Salvadorans are family people. We are also crazy people who can’t eat a single food without adding lemon to it. Pastelitos de chucho, well, that just adds to our craziness. Most importantly, we love our country and we love our craziness.


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