Howdy! This week’s Cultural Tidbits Monday post will be about a Salvadoran food staple, the pupusa, and a pupuseria in Tampa that I visited for the first time a few days ago.
Why didn’t I write about this pupuseria in Tampa earlier, you may ask? Due to carpal tunnel pain, I couldn’t write or blog much last week. And so today I swallowed the pain, took a deep breath, and typed a bit slower so I could finally post…
What is a pupuseria, or a pupusa for that matter?
Naturally, a pupusería is a place that sells pupusas. And what are they again!? Like a taco is to Mexico, a pupusa is a thick corn tortilla and traditional food staple in El Salvador. Pupusas might remind you of arepas, although their taste is wildly different.
The pupusa corn flour mixture typically contains cheese, pork, refried beans or loroco flower bud. Once hand-stretched, the pupusas are fried and then topped with curtido, a Salvadoran side dish similar to coleslaw. They can be eaten as snacks, an appetizer or even a meal. I ate my pupusa with a side of crispy tostones, for instance (see second photo above).
Only pupuseria in Tampa
The cafeteria and pupuseria in Tampa that I visited is more like a family-run restaurant. Not only does the Pupusería y Cafetería Centroamericana offers pupusas and other Central American staples, but they also serve full-blown meals such as Salvadoran steak, combinación Guanaca, and fried pork chunk with cassava (see their Central American food menu here).
While I waited for my carry-out pupusa (made in the premises from scratch!), I got to chat with the son of the owner for a bit. He told me that there are no other pupuserias in Tampa, or in much of the south for that matter, and that this has helped his family business stay afloat despite a dim economy. It made me feel good that I was contributing and helping a small local business! Which is why I decided to link to their website and talk about my positive experience there, even though I paid full price for my order and no freebies were given to me for reviewing the Pupusería y Cafetería Centroamericana.
This pupuseria in Tampa is within walking distance of the house I just moved into, and with a 6-month lease, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to sample more of its menu items. I love traveling through food, so I’ll be coming back with my gringo boyfriend soon!