Pupusas at Restaurante El Salvador in Concord

by foodhoe on March 7, 2011

2118 Willow Pass Rd, Suite 300, Concord, CA 94520 | 925.680.6618
Hours: Sun, Mon, Wed, and Fri 10 am – 10 pm; Sat 10 am – 2 am; Tues closed

On the way to our regular taqueria near Todos Santos Plaza in downtown Concord, I noticed a sign for pupusas on a side street and decided to stop by to check it out.  The entrance is located on the rear of a bank parking lot but the bright blue awning helps to catch your attention.

Inside is cozy, the tables are all draped with crisp white cloth, the room is filled with the ambient sounds of the tv.  Once it was old music videos another time it was soccer.  The service is very casual and borders on inattentive. Once we placed the order, our server dropped off a basket of thick crunchy chips with a small bowl of zesty salsa.
The menu serves only Salvadorean cuisine.  As usual, I wanted to try everything, so I ordered the Antojitos Tipicos ($10ish), a sampler plate of gargantuan proportions, which included some chunks of carnitas, fried yucca root which is similar to a potato but more dense, fried plantains, an empanada (a meat filled pastry), a steamed tamal that came wrapped up in a banana leaf and one pupusa.
The tamal was served in banana leaves, and was soft and custardy, like a souffle stuffed with a delectable filling of potato, cactus, garbanzo beans, and tender chicken.  The whole thing really just melted in my mouth, it was very comforting and over too soon…
The fried plantain had a surprise creamy coconut filling which was not really sweet, but delicious with the tart flesh of the plantain.
El Salvador is known for one dish in particular: pupusas revueltos, a cornmeal patty stuffed with beans, cheese or pork, or a combination of these ingredients.  It’s similar to a quesadilla but with thick corn walls that are sealed up on the edges, with the melted cheese and other fillings and griddled until brown and crispy.  Warm, tasty, and comforting.
Pupusas are traditionally served with curtido (pronounced coor-tee-tho), a spicy cabbage slaw is flavored with fresh oregano and vinegar.  Put a generous forkful of Curtido on top of the pupusa and drizzle some of the accompanying Salsa Roja on top and eat it with your hands. The combination of flavors and textures was lip smacking good.
A closeup of the loroca with cheese.  Loroca is a tasty green vegetable blossom that is native to  Central America.  It seemed similar to thinly sliced leaves from the artichoke, chewy, dense and delicious.
And the luscious Revueltas with tender shredded pork, beans and oozing with cheese.  This was my favorite…
The bean and cheese pupusa was also really good.  The patty is griddled until it’s hot and fragrant and just a little charred and crispy, filled with savory refried beans and molten hot cheese.
Victor had a breakfast plate of Machaca (shredded beef mixed up with scrambled eggs and vegetables) served with a puddle of spicy refried beans, a chunk of queso fresco and a pile of crema.  He finished this off with an order of pupusas…
At Restaurante El Salvador, the pupusas rule and I am obsessively craving them…

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