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Cuisine in El Salvador

The traditional cuisine of El Salvador consists of food from the Maya, Lenca and Pipil people. Many of the dishes are made with maize (corn). The wide variety of vegetables, tropical fruit, fresh seafood and meat found in El Salvador has resulted in a diversity of delicious dishes unique to their cuisine.

El Salvador's most notable dish is the pupusa, a thick hand-made corn flour or rice flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, chicharrón (cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency), refried beans, and/or loroco (a vine flower bud native to Central America). There are also vegetarian options, often with ayote (a type of squash), or garlic. Some adventurous restaurants even offer pupusas stuffed with shrimp or spinach.

Two other typical Salvadoran dishes are yuca frita and panes rellenos. Yuca frita, which is deep fried cassava root served with curtido (a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping) and pork rinds with pescaditas (fried baby sardines). The yuca is sometimes served boiled instead of fried. Panes con pavo (turkey sandwiches) are warm turkey submarines. The turkey is marinated and then roasted with Pipil spices and hand-pulled. This sandwich is traditionally served with turkey, tomato, and watercress along with cucumber, onion, lettuce, mayonnaise, and mustard.

One of the most noticeable breakfast plates in El Salvador is fried plantain, usually accompanied with cream and cheese. This is one of El Salvador's typical breakfasts, common in Salvadoran restaurants and homes extending across the United States. The most important meal of the day is lunch (almuerzo), which includes soup and a main course of meat, chicken, or seafood with rice and beans.

Soups are popular among Salvadorans of every social level. Sopa de pata is a soup made from the tripes of a cow, plantain, corn, tomatoes, cabbage and spices, locally a delicacy. Gallo en chicha is a soup somewhat similar to coq-au-vin, but like much of Salvadoran cuisine is a blend of European influences and the Salvadoran ingredients and cooking traditions.

Salvadoran desserts include pan dulce, cemita, Salvadoran-style quesadilla, torta de yema, marquezote, salpores, poleada (vanilla custard), arroz en leche (rice pudding), atol de elote (very young white corn soup), atol de piña (pineapple soup), empanadas de platano (plantain patties) and many others. The dulce de leche of El Salvador has a soft, crumbly texture, with an almost crystallised form. Fruits are widely consumed, the more popular being mangoes, papayas and bananas. Maria Luisa is an elegant dessert in El Salvador; it is a layered cake that is soaked in orange marmalade and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Minutas, slushy frozen drinks flavoured with natural flavoured syrup, and horchata, mix of spices such as cinnamon, peanuts, ajonjolí (sesame seed) and morro, are popular throughout the country and enjoyed on a hot day. Licuados are like the minutas with added fresh fruit, and sometimes milk. Refrescos refer to lemonade or other sweetened fruit drinks. Other drinks include arrayán, shuco and chilate. Another popular beverage is ensalada (salad), made of pineapple juice with finely chopped fruits, usually apples, marañón, mamey and watercress. Tamarindo juice is consumed in all of El Salvador. Coconuts are sold at roadside stalls throughout the country. Typically, they are chopped with machetes and a straw is inserted so that the coconut milk can be consumed. Adults drink coconut milk, mixed with vodka, as an aperitif.





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