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.
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.
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.