El Salvador: Pupuseria y Restaurante Cuscatleco

salvadorPupuseria y Restaurante Cuscatleco
Formerly 7109 N. Clark, now 3125 W Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, IL

I think we found our new favorite lunch fix. The pupusa. Pupusas are traditional stuffed cornmeal (masa) patties from El Salvador, and are the stock in trade at the Pupuseria y Restaurante Cuscatleco on North Clark. The menu itself is divided between Salvadoran and Mexican dishes. On the Mexican side there are favorites like burritos, tortas and tostadas ($2.50 – 6). The Salvadoran side boasts more unusual dishes like Tamal de Gallina (Hen Tamales, $2) and Yuca con Chicharrón ($7.25).

The king of the Salvadoran dishes however, is the pupusa, and Cuscatleco has several varieties including Chicharrón (pork rind), queso fresco cheese and beans. One of the more unusual choices is the loroco, which is an  aromatic green flower, used often in Salvadoran cuisine. At 2 dollars a piece you can try a few – we went with the cheese and loroco. However, don’t think these are tiny little tortillas, three pupusas more than filled two hungry eaters.

pupusas2

Upon ordering, the cooks prepare your pupusas to order and grill them right there on the plancha. The space itself is pretty spartan, with some booths and high tables. The kitchen is right out front, so we could see (and smell) our pupusas in production. As we waited for our order, we took in the daytime delights of  “Escándalo TV” (Showbiz TV), which was blaring from a TV in the corner.

In mere minutes our order was ready. The pupusas came with 2 thin salsas – a mild red and a spicy green and a bowl of  traditional vinegary slaw, called curtido, which is typically eaten on top of the pupusa. The pupusas themselves were chewy and golden brown and brimming with queso fresco and the bright green herby loroco. We devored our lunch and were completely satiated. We just might become regulars here. I can’t think of a better lunch than watching some bad Daytime TV with a friend and some tasty, tasty masa.

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