El Salvador: a Central American country and culture that is completely foreign to me. The thought of trying Salvadorian food wouldn’t even have crossed my mind if I had not been offered a sample of an entire pupusa while walking by the Guanaco food truck the other day. I was really grateful for full-sized sample, but I was really too full to purchase another one of their pupusas at that very moment. I thanked them profusely for the sample and promised to go back as soon as possible for a proper order of their pupusa.
Two days later I returned. I returned partly to reciprocate their kind generosity of the pupusa sample that they offered me; I also returned because I really liked what I tasted when I tried their pupusa.
I of course had to order the pupusa, but I had the pork pupusa instead of the cheese pupusa that I sampled a few days prior.
The order came with a pupusa, some yuca fries, salsa, and coleslaw. I’ll start with the coleslaw because I felt that it was the weakest component of the order. It wasn’t all bad, but it was pretty ordinary. The only differentiating aspect that it possessed was that it was a bit more tangy/zesty (from a higher vinegar content) than the average fast-food coleslaw.
The next component were the yucca fries. They had a mealy interior and and crispy exterior that I felt matched the textures of versions of plantain fries that I’ve had before. The mealy interior was surrounded by a fibery and crispy exterior that was once again deep-fried-plantain-like. The yucca fries served their roles well as the carb component of the order.
For me, other than the pupusa, the most interesting component of the dish was the salsa. It was more watery than the typical Mexican salsa that I was used to, but it was equally as flavourful. I especially like it when I dipped the yucca fries in them; they added a very discernible flavour to the fries that temporarily allowed me to forget the mealy texture of the yucca that I was not yet used to.
I thought that the salsa was not necessary when it came to my order of the pork pupusa. The pupusa was like nothing that I’ve had before. In terms of looks, it was similar to the Chinese pan fried dumpling. When it came to the flavour and texture, it was similar to a soft, creamy cheese. But in terms of the total package, it was unique from everything else I’ve had before. It had a thin, earthy, and crispy crust. Once the crust was breached, it gave way to a liquidy interior that was more about the cheese than the pork. The liquidy cheese worked just like the soup in a Shanghainese soup dumpling. It was a surprisingly perfect match to the sweet, earthy crust. It didn’t feel overly creamy and it was full of flavours. It was so full of flaovurs that the pork totally took a back seat flavourwise. The pork merely acted as a a chewy textural contrast (albeit a very enjoyable one). I felt that the pupusa I tasted was up there in my pantheon of delicious flour/corn tortilla-based items, along with a well-assembled taco.
I normally use my wife’s feelings on a new food item as the standard on whether or not it might be acceptable to the general public. She’s very particular when it comes to flavours and textures, and she is thus quite hard to please. If she finds the food item in question favorable, I have no doubt in my mind that most people would like that item. My wife liked the pupusa. She said that she would totally have no problems having it as the main course of a meal. She felt so positive about the pupusa we had that she even suggested that we revisit Guanaco in the near future to try the rest of the items they had to offer. I agree with her, and I predict our next visit will come within a few weeks.
Here’s their brief and focused menu: