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Discover Latino Flavor In L.A. With Pupusas And Little Salvador
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Discover Latino Flavor In L.A. With Pupusas And Little Salvador

Picture of C. Marie Cradle
Updated: 30 November 2016
In terms of beloved Latin American foods, the burrito is grande. In comparison, the pupusa is lesser known, but it has been winning over foodies, especially in Los Angeles. The pupusa—a puffy, filled cornmeal dough—originated in El Salvador. As the popularity of pupusas grows in L.A., so does the population of ethnic Salvadorans here. Let’s examine further the pupusa, the best places in L.A. to enjoy it.
Pupusa, cut in half with peppery hot sauce | © C. Marie Cradle
Pupusa, cut in half with peppery hot sauce | © C. Marie Cradle

Defining The Pupusa

The pupusa, deceivingly presented as if it were a fast food, is a slowly cooked treat well worth the wait. A properly prepared pupusa takes 10-15 minutes to make and is served at a pupuseria. The dough (masa) is pounded with love by the enduring hands of Salvadoran cooks. Fillings inside the pupusa range according to taste. Mostly, it is filled with cheese (queso), seasoned pork (chicharron), refried beans (frijoles refritos) or cheese and loroco (vine flower bud). Customarily served with the pupusa is pickled cabbage (cortida) and hot sauce, which is usually on the super spicy side. While the burrito has been drastically Americanized, count on the pupusa to remain authentically prepared.

Pico Union sign, Los Angeles | © C. Marie Cradle
Pico Union sign, Los Angeles | © C. Marie Cradle

LA’s Prime Pupuserias

There are plenty of pupuserias around LA to please the palate. One of the most buzzworthy is located at bustling Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles. Pull up a chair and enjoy a couple of the preferred puffy treats at Sarita’s. Pupusa fillings at the Market food booth go well beyond pork and loroco, with offerings such as carrots, spinach, mushrooms, pumpkin and even seafood. Other prime pupusa spots rated by those in the know include, but certainly are not limited to: Hollywood’s La Guanaquita and Delmy’s at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, as well as the Koreatown-adjacent Los Molcajetes.

Pico-Union area mural, Los Angeles | © C. Marie Cradle
Pico-Union area mural, Los Angeles | © C. Marie Cradle

The Salvadoran Community in LA

As pupuserias are scattered throughout Los Angeles, so is the Salvadoran-American community, which by some estimates is represented by a quarter of a million people. Despite its significant number, the community is still in search of neighborhood identity. In 2012, local leaders designated the area along Vermont Ave from 11th Street to Adams Blvd, in the Pico-Union area, as El Salvador Corridor. Many Salvadoran immigrants reside here, but their numbers also stretch north into Koreatown, MacArthur Park and East Hollywood.

MacArthur Park, Los Angeles | © C. Marie Cradle
MacArthur Park, Los Angeles | © C. Marie Cradle

Where to Go For Pupusa in LA:

Sarita’s Pupuseria, 317 S Broadway Ste 5, Los Angeles, CA

La Guanaquita, 6242 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Delmy’s at Farmer’s Market, at the corner of Ivar and Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA

Los Molcajetes, 5116 E Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA