313 - Salsa on St. Clair
By Lauren Gosnell
Published July 4th, 2008
Salvadorans really love pupusas. So much so, El Salvador created an official holiday for the national dish! The second Sunday of November is National Pupusa Day and, naturally, Salvadorans celebrate by eating this addictive street eat.
Next weekend, you can see for yourself what the fuss is all about at the fourth annual Salsa on St. Clair festival, newly rechristened Salsa in Toronto.
So what is a pupusa? It’s a corn flour patty stuffed with one or more of a combination of meat, cheese, and refried beans (frijoles). The meat is most often chicharron – a Latin-style pork rind. A popular cheese filling is queso con loroco, cheese with loroco flower. Loroco is indigenous to El Salvador and has a mild bitter flavour. The pork, cheese and beans combo is called a pupusa revuelta.
Pupusas are made by hand. The filling is worked into the middle of the corn flour dough and then flattened on a grill where it is grilled to perfection – crispy on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside. It is served with a little salsa and some curtido – a coleslaw side dish made from shredded cabbage and carrots soaked in vinaigrette.
The authentic way to eat a pupusa is with your hands.
There are several pupuserias around the city to experience the taste of El Salvador. One local favourite, Pupuseria El Sabor de El Salvador, brings on extra staff just for the Salsa on St. Clair festival. Good thing too – there’s no such thing as a short queue at a pupusa stand at the sizzling two-day event.
Pupuseria El Sabor de El Salvador
958 St. Clair Avenue West