Friday, December 05, 2008

How To Eat a Pupusa

To eat a pupusa you have to have a pupusa.
First find a pupusaria.
You could make your own.
Or a friend could make you some.

That lady up the street.
Up on Court street.
She makes them in her house and sells them.
My wife calls her sobrina.
But she is not her niece.
They were born with the same last name.
But different countries.
Mexico and El Salvador.

Pupusas are from El Salvador.
You might not be going there soon.
And you don't know where the neice lives.
You have to find a pupusaria.

They are usually small places.
In Latino parts of town.
They usually do not advertise.
Just window signs announcing "Pupusas".

You could ask around.
You could drive around.
Keeping looking.
Don't stop.
Follow your nose.
Good food comes to those whose nostrils are open to the world.

Ok, you found a pupusaria.
You walk in.
Maybe they have a waitress.
Maybe you have to go to the counter to order.

Maybe the menu is in Spanish.
Maybe English.
Maybe both.

Look for pupusaa.

Then you have options.

They will have queso.
But the cheese ain't yellow.
It is mixed with an herb called loroca.

Or frijoles.
Beans. Fart machines.

Or chicharrones.
Chopped up pig skin in a red sauce.

Or a revuelta of everything.

Or chicken and onions.
Not always.
Almost never.

These are the fillings.
You have to choose.

I like the queso with loroca.

The filling is put in between some maza.
You know...corn tortilla dough.
Then flattened out.
Put on a griddle like a pancake.
Then flipped over.

When they come to your table they are ready for you.
They will be hot and a little crusty.

There will be a plate of cabbage salad brought to the table.
It is called curtido.
Put some on top of the pupusa.
Put some of the special red salsa on top.
It should be thin.
It should be mildly hot.
It should be a little bit sweet.

Now you can eat.
This is the best part.

Maybe you should order a few to take home.
But since you found this pupusaria...
You will come back again.

This picture is by Ricardo Levins Morales from the Northland Poster Collective. Click the image to go there.