The border official at San Salvador airport was excited to see a tourist from a non-Spanish speaking world. With a smile on his face he asked if I was going to check on pueblos or playas and if I had ever eaten a... pupusa. I blushed. "Pupusa" sounds like a Polish word that depicts buttocks in a very affectionate way... What an interesting start of Easter holidays.
A hearty breakfast of refried beans, eggs, avocado and salads with izote, a national flower of El Salvador, kept me going for a good couple of hours. Tortillas, lots of tortillas served with wonderful salsas made the rest of my daily culinary routine. Well, how about a pupusa?
The Salvadoreans are passionate about their food. Tasty bites are available in the smallest street of a smallest village. For a boy that comes from fitness obsessed environment, it became quite obvious to me that an average energy intake per Salvadorean per day far exceeded two thousand kilocalories. But what is a pupusa and where can I eat one?
There it is: griddle cake made with cornmeal or rice flour stuffed with mouthwatering cheese, refried beans, chopped pork, you name it. It is accompanied by tomato salsa and spicy cabbage slaw. Eat two and your stomach is full. Eat three and you are just about to burst. Six pieces lay on my plate. I cannot believe people around me had more than that. Could someone take mine?...
Pupusa is declared a national dish of El Salvador. However tasty, it is heavy, very heavy on the stomach. Fear no evil, though. Countless chemist shops are open until late and an army of handsome pharmacists will gladly provide OTC remedies for indigestion.
There is an alternative for the ones concerned about excessive intake of starch and fat: fruit juices. Freshly squeezed from the fruit of your choice, they are full of vitamins, other goodness and available from street vendors all over the country. Smoothies made of artificially ripened tropical fruit-like products in Europe are a far cry from the divinity served in El Salvador.
Eating a pupusa proved to be nothing to blush about. On the contrary, it was a good way to socialize with friendly locals. I have reasons to believe that pupusas add to the charm and quite "Flemish baroque" looks of the Salvadoreans.
And here is the map: