Would you like a soft, savory cake filled with cheese that’s seared until that cheese oozes out and caramelizes on the griddle? How about siding it with a tart, crunchy cabbage salad and a short lesson on hyper regional cuisine? Let’s book it to Olocuilta Pupuseria.
Like many Mesoamerican antojitos (chalupas, sopes, tacos), Salvadoran pupusas are generally made with corn masa. However, this modest, friendly restaurant offers a choice between corn and rice flour versions. Go for the latter, which are creamy white with a springy texture. The fillings range beyond the ordinary, from minced spinach to pickled loroco buds (a Central American flower) to tiny shrimp barely larger than krill. There is no besting the revuelta, which combines mashed beans and pork chicharrón along with all that good cheese. With curtido, a vinegary cabbage salad, riding shotgun, a plate of these pupusas will afford you a moment of Zen snarf.
Rice flour pupusas are the specialty of the restaurant’s eponymous town. Olocuilta lies between El Salvador’s capital and its international airport and is often a first stop for Salvadoreños returning home. There, scores of restaurants sear their pupusas on comals set over live fire. This scene is depicted on the large painting at Pupuseria Olocuilta, which is thankfully a drive rather than a flight away.