Our search for a quick, freshly made-to-order lunch found us at Cabana, a restaurant, specializing in pupusas and other Salvadoran treats. I had been introduced to these hearty and addictive treats by a friend and co-worker who took me there after hearing that I’d prefer a unique casual meal over a high-end puffery every time. It was time for me to take Maureen to share in the delight.
The place is very friendly, family run operation with and adjacent Latin food shop called La Tiendita, where Maureen and I go to stock up on good corn tortillas, queso fresco, chili peppers and other Latin food staples.
We sat down and ordered three pupusas each, one of each kind on the menu, cheese, pork and combination and a side dish of fried plantains, refried beans and crema, a rich variant of creme fraiche. The pupusas came with a large jar of a lightly fermented cabbage slaw, reminiscent of Korean kimchi and a fresh tasting thin tomato salsa. Hot sauce was on the table. 3 pupusas is too many. Two would be perfect, and is the minimum order size.
The pupusas themselves are almost like doughy corn pancakes, stuffed with meat and cheese and delicious all by themselves, but with the gentle bite of the cabbage and the fresh tomato flavours of the salsa, they form the perfect combination of rich, salty, with just enough bite and tang to keep me going back for more. It’s a shock that these pupusas and their condiments are $2.25 each. I dare say that I can’t think of a better food bargain in the city.