Pupusas! (Not just a fun word to say)
Iâ€™ve found a little bit of El Salvador on Beaubien, and my tastebuds are thanking me for it. Since moving away from Los Angeles, theyâ€™ve been longing for Central American treats: fried plantains with cream, horchata, empanadas, tamales and most of all, pupusas.
The Salvadorean pupusa is a thick corn tortilla, stuffed with cheese, chicken, pork rinds, beans or loroco (a type of flowering vine from Central America), and fried to a crispy-on-the-outside-but-soft-on-the-inside perfection. Typically it is served with curtido (a pickled, coleslaw-esque cabbage) and tomato sauce, which means you get vegetables, carbohydrates and proteins all rolled into one compact meal you eat with your hands.
Joy! On Beaubien there are two pupuserias, both fantastic and more than affordable. Walking west from Beaubien metro, you immediately encounter pupuseria â€œDona Maria.â€ Itâ€™s a nice restaurant on the inside, plenty of tables and chairs, and tasteful pictures of El Salvador gracing the walls. But the dÃ©cor is second to Dona Mariaâ€™s outstanding pupusas, priced at only $2.10 each. I grabbed a loroco and cheese pupusa to go, with my curtido and tomato sauce individually bagged on the side. Smothering my pupusa in sweet tomato and crunchy cabbage, I scarfed the whole thing down in minutes. Filling and delicious.
Then, just down the street, there is a small, barely noticeable pupuseria called simply â€œDÃ¨licieusus Pupusas.â€ There were only four tables inside this four-year-old restaurantâ€”with only ten people, the whole place was filled. The restaurant was abuzz in Spanish, and it seemed that everyone, the waiter, the cook/cashier/waitress/owner, and the customers, all went back a long ways. While the pupusas were smaller than Dona Mariaâ€™s, they were equally tasty. $2.00 got me a pork and cheese pupusa, while my boyfriend picked up the chicken and cheese pupusa for $2.25. Tamales were a steal for only $2.00, and I was finally able to dig into my sorely missed fried plantains in cream for $3.25.
Iâ€™m a long way from Los Angeles and its perpetual sunshine, but oh!, I have to admit I miss it quite a bit less than I used to now that pupusas are once again a part of my life.
Dona Maria: 520 rue Beaubien Est. (514) 272-5585.
DÃ¨licieusus Pupusas: 256 rue Beaubien Est.
Both restaurants are closed Mondays.