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Nov 12

Breakfast in El Salvador

mmm tasty pupusa toppings…

It was our first morning in El Salvador when Tony and I rolled up to the roadside comedor that was obviously pretty popular with the locals.  It was a pretty typical affair. Nothing more than a few picnic tables set out in front of a shop with a corrugated tin roof extending out over the tables, providing some welcome shade.  The kitchen was right on the edge of the road and consisted of a gas-fired hotplate and a small table heaped with dishes and foodstuffs.

 

I parked Tony against a fence under the curious gaze of a table full of Salvodoreños eating their breakfast.  I had not breakfasted yet in El Salvador, so I took off my helmet and gloves and walked up to the rather large woman who was obviously in charge and cheerily opened with ¨Buenos dias!  Que hay para desayunar?¨ Good morning, what´s for

Pupusas in El Salvador

breakfast?  As I said this, I saw her visibly relax upon hearing that I could speak Spanish and I noted that most of the regulars returned to their food upon seeing that there would be no games of gringo charades this morning to accompany their meal.  The queen of the outdoor kitchen was all business as she replied, “Buenos dias, hay revueltas.” Good morning, we have revueltas.

 

“Bueno, eso suena bien.  Podrias dar un plato de eso por favor?…  Cuanto seria?” Great, that sounds good.  Could you give me a plate of that please?…  How much would it be?

 

“Quieres 3? Cuestan 35 centavos cada uno.” Do you want three?  They cost 35 cents each.

 

Now I should probably point out here that I hadn’t the faintest idea what “revueltaswere.   When she had first said “revueltas”  I thought she might mean scrambled eggs (huevos revueltos), but when she asked if I wanted 3, and told me that they cost 35c each, I began to doubt my theory.  I am an adventurous and always-grateful eater though, so I never waste time asking what something is.  Far better, I have always thought, to have it come as a surprise on a plate in front of me.

 

Corn drying on the shoulder in El Salvador

So without a split second of hesitation and without giving the slightest indication that I didn’t now what I was asking for I replied:  “Si, porfa… mmm no, a lo mejor deme 4”  Yes please, mmm no, perhaps give me 4.”

 

Five minutes later, my plate arrived and on it were four fresh delicious steaming-hot pupusas revueltas.

 

Pupusas are the mainstay of El Salvadorean fast food and over the next week we would see pupuserias everywhere.  Pupusas are essentially like a stuffed corn tortilla.  When making the tortilla they first stuff the ball of dough with beans, cheese, chicharron, meat, lorroco, onions, or a dozen other possible filling before flattening it out and putting it on the grill.  Their popularity is no surprise as they are quick, cheap, filling, and very very tasty.

 

Corn drying on the road side in El Salvador

I had had my first pupusas in San Cristobal Toto with Goldy and Jesse and with my first bite I had become an instant fan.  What I didn’t learn in Guatemala though, was that the classic El Salvadorean pupusa is the pupusa revueltapupusas stuffed with refried beans.  Now the world made a little bit more sense.

 

So now, I had 4 incredibly tasty, incredibly cheap, pupusas in front of me that I had to take care of.  On my table were two large vats of pupusa toppings.  There was the classic, slightly-spicy, pickled shredded cabbage vat, and then there was the evil-looking vat filled with what looked to be atomically charged chilies soaking in a bright yellow liquid with some onions.  It was breakfast, so I decided to play it safe and reached for the cabbage, scooping out a small pile on to the top of each of my pupusas, before drowning them in the spicy tomato salsa.  Breakfast was served.

 

Though shall not kill… These sigs at immigration made me a tad bit nervous…

I could send you now into a mouth watering frenzy by the describing the incredible hearty flavours of each and every soft juicy bite, I could talk about the fusion of the savoury beans, the rich corn, the sharp cabbage and the sweet and spicy salsa, but I won’t because as I write this I’m getting hungry.  So suffice to say it was a very satisfying -and very filling – breakfast.  Not bad at all for $1.40…

 

El Salvador, I decided, was going to be alright.

 

 

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