Recession Obsession: The Pupusa

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A Squash+Cheese Stuffed Pupusa at La Pupusa Loca | Photo by Caleb Bacon for LAist

The Official Recession has enveloped us for fifteen official months. It’s still no reason we can’t enjoy life. This is LA — we have a ton of inexpensive options! A Recession Obsession is somewhere fantastic, whether times are good or not, because it's that damn good. We last loved on some no-cook take-home Korean and wood-fired Peruvian chicken. Today, we...

Argentina has the empanada. Venezuela has the arepa. Rural Pennsylvania has the deep-fried Twinkie. Various locales feature their own celebrated dishes which pack sustenance and regional style. El Salvador’s is the pupusa.

Pupusas are less than $2 each. Thanks to a sizable-enough local El Salvadorean population, you can find them cooked up all around Los Angeles. The pupusa is small enough that a second is demanded. Two and an icey glass of horchata runs about $5-$6. That’s why El Salvador’s thick corn tortilla-stuffed delight is LAist’s latest Recession Obsession.

The pupusa looks simple yet tastes delicious, especially when warm. It tastes like the result of an unsweetened pancake mating with a quesadilla. That's a good thing. Often made from corn, flour, or a corn-flour-masa mix, this dish is stuffed various ways. The stuffing's more secondary than primary as the cheese and dough take center stage. There’s often refried beans or meat in on the fun (chicken, or pork typically.) Squash and pumpkin make for excellent vegetarian-friendly options.

Always served alongside this piece of El Salvadorean pride is curtido, a pickled cabbage, carrot, and onion condiment and a tomato-based red sauce (which I’ve not often found to be spicy.) The pupusa dares you to decorate it with this delicious lubrication.

Polarizing Pupusa

Not everyone likes the pupusa. Some don't like to be reminded of a game of frisbee while dining. The good news is that this rather tame dish is the cheapest gamble in town, and it's a hard dish to get wrong. In these hard times if you want a free burrito, it's yours, but if you can pony up $2 for a a Central American experience I suggest a trip to Sarita's or Lempira.

  • Lempira Restaurant | Los Feliz | 4848 Hollywood Blvd | Los Angeles 90027 |(323) 662-2927
  • La Pupusa Loca | Hollywood | 5716 Santa Monica Blvd (@ Wilton St) | Los Angeles 90038 |(323) 957-2967

Where do you get your pupusas? Comment below!