TNT Diner

Good eats and drinks around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

Tag: El Pulgarcito

May
25th

First bite: Salvadoran pupusas in South Sound


Pupusas at Pupuseria La Usuluteca come in six varieties.

Think of the pupusa as the Salvadoran cousin to a Mexican sope crossed with a quesadilla. It’s a thick disc made from a masa corn dough; stuffed with meat, beans or cheese; and griddled until it’s a crunchy pancake with gooey innards. The cakes are served with a fermented cabbage slaw called curtido. One or two make an appetizer; three or four make a meal.
Pupusas are eaten with just about every meal in El Salvador. The dish is so much a part of the country’s culinary fabric, the pupusa has its own national holiday (no lie – the second Sunday of November).

Salvadoran food is challenging to find in the South Sound, but we are home to two pupuserias – one opened five months ago in South Tacoma. Read more »

Feb.
25th

Salvadoran flavor: Local restaurants create devilishly good stuffed corn discs


Pupusas are hand made at Mi Chalateca, an El Salvadorian restaurant in Federal Way. The griddled corn based dough is stuffed with beans, cheese or pork and typically eaten with hot sauce and pickled cabbage, top left. Photo by Janet Jensen/Staff photographer

Pupusas are neither tacos, gorditas nor quesadillas, but think of them as the Salvadoran cousin to all three.

Pupusas are thick, fragrant corn discs that can be stuffed with cheese, slow-simmered pork, a smear of beans, shredded zucchini or even spinach. They’re griddle-warmed and served piping hot with a side of curtido, a Salvadoran pickled cabbage-carrot salad goosed with fresh oregano.

Dig your fork into the middle of a queso pupusa and a gooey ooze of cheese spills out of the center. As one of my dining partners noted during a visit to a pupuseria, “What’s not to love about hot wads of dough stuffed with melted cheese?” I concur. They’re devilishly good.

At less than $2 per pupusa, they make for a filling and inexpensive meal. At pupuserias, the restaurants that specialize in the stuffed corn discs, pupusas are meant as an appetizer for brimming bowls of soup, grilled meats, fried yuca and stews – all specialties of Salvadoran cuisine.

These Salvadoran dishes can be found at pupuserias El Pulgarcito in Lakewood and Mi Chalateca in Federal Way – small restaurants big on Salvadoran flavor.

Here’s what they have to offer: Read more »