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What Are Salvadoran Pupusas?

Tortilla and Cheese Lovers, Meet the Pupusa

A craving for Central American and Caribbean food as of late has meant I've scoured the streets of Miami for a decent cubano, as well as the colorful corners of San Francisco's Mission district for authentic Salvadoran pupusas.

Think of the pupusa as a more glorious quesadilla. The people of El Salvador flatten balls of corn dough (made of masa that's been treated with an alkaline solution) into flat filled cakes, each hiding a sliver of refried beans, pork, vegetables, and, more often than not, melted cheese, then heated until warm on the griddle. The end result's served piping hot with piquant curtido (pickled cabbage) and a thin red tomato-based salsa.

On a recent excursion to Balompie Café, the best pupusa I tried was a traditional version filled with cheese and loroco, a Central American flower bud that tasted a bit like bell peppers. If you love Latin flavors and have never laid eyes on the pupusa, it's a Salvadoran street food worth seeking out.

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