So many “pupusas”, so little time | Taste, Santa Fe’s food scene
Give me less than five miles and 15 minutes, and I’ll show you pupuse paradise.
From a dirt lot on Llano Street to a spot just off bustling Rodeo Road to a parking lot on Cerrillos Road best known for its seasonal produce stand, some of the best destinations for Salvadoran cuisine exist. in a rough triangulation of high-end Santa Fe food trucks.
Salvadoran cuisine is varied, relying heavily on corn, pork, and seafood, but its most famous dish is pupuse, a hearty, toasted, hand-made pancake, usually made with cornmeal and stuffed with a variety of toppings. And while each of the three food trucks I visited – La Loncherita Salvadoreña, Pupuseria Y Lonchera La Providencia and La Esperanza – offered totally different menus, the pupus took center stage.
I started my trip at La Loncherita Salvadoreña, a small blue truck with a white stripe reminiscent of the Salvadoran flag that sits on Llano Street a few blocks from St. Michael’s Drive. They only do one thing and only one thing: only cash pupus, and boy, do they do them right. I paid $ 5.50 for two, a zucchini and cheese and a revuelta, which comes with chicharron, beans, cheese and loroco (a flower bud native to the region of El Salvador). To note: Salvadoran chicharron is finely grated and seasoned pork, not the fried pork you’ll find on many Mexican menus.
The pupus here are huge and served piping hot, with obsessively good grilled pieces of cheese forming crisp, lacy edges in places. As an accompaniment, you will have a tomato sauce and Curiously, a lightly fermented and spicy coleslaw, traditional pupuse side dishes served in the three food trucks I visited. One of those pupus would make a satisfying lunch, and your only challenge is waiting for it to cool down to a suitable grip temperature.
Next, Pupuseria Y Lonchera La Providencia, the hard-to-miss blue truck on Rodeo Road, near its intersection with Cerrillos Road. But it was unexpectedly closed on my first visit, which is why the next time I called ahead with my order, I recommend using the phone numbers listed in this column to verify if a truck is opened before making a special trip.
So I drove to La Esperanza, a truck that I had spotted next to the highly popular seasonal Peach Valley Produce stand on Cerrillos near Siler Road. The lime green truck offers a mix of breakfast dishes, Salvadoran dishes, and Mexican dishes. Here, pupus are $ 2.50 to $ 2.75 and come in over half a dozen vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. My chicharron and loroco pupusas were smaller and thicker but just as satisfying; the real surprise here, however, was the tasty variety on the large menu.
The pollo a la plancha ($ 12.50) with handmade tortillas, rice, refried beans, pico de gallo, and a grilled jalapeño, was one of the best seasoned chickens I’ve had in Santa Fe. sweet, pleasant Salvadoran torta ($ 12) with carne asada on most everyday American burgers; it came with each half individually wrapped, perfect for sharing or dividing for later. And the big melon before fresh water hit just the right sweet note without being cloying.
I completed my pupuse trifecta a few days later with a stop at Pupuseria Y Lonchera La Providencia, where two groups ate lunch at the covered picnic tables outside. The pupus here ($ 2.50 each) were more similar to those at La Esperanza; once again I savored the rich heart of beans and chicharron in one, but found the loroco variety to be lighter and almost brilliantly pleasant.
La Providencia serves more Salvadoran classics, including fried yuca frita and pastelitos de pollo, who were exhausted when I arrived. The platanos refritos ($ 6.65), or fried plantains, were perfectly cooked, with sides of savory cream and refried beans. the tacos al pastor ($ 8), which might strike a more familiar chord for some first-time visitors, balanced the sweetness of pork and pineapple with generous slices of avocado, onion, cilantro, and a spicy red sauce .
Where to visit when? I was going to La Esperanza for breakfast (besides a breakfast burrito and huevos rancheros you can choose the Desayuno Salvadoreño for $ 10, which includes eggs, plantains, beans and cream, or to enjoy a variety of well-cooked dishes. For a smaller but more traditional Salvadoran menu, head to the popular La Providencia.
And for a cheap meal worthy of an irresistible desire? I’m already looking forward to boosting a bad day or celebrating a good day or just uplifting an ordinary day with a few dollars and a few minutes of waiting at La Loncherita.
In a city rich in culinary riches, I give thanks for our little corner of pupuse paradise.