It is time again to decide between two cuisines on The World Cup of Food, this time Jamaica and El Salvador. The food of the two nations is very different from one another’s and again the decision has been hotly contested.
The national dish of El Salvador is undoubtedly the pupusa (recipe follows). Corn dough in layers a bit thicker than Mexican tortillas is filled with stuffing ingredients and sealed around the edge to form disc-shaped packages. The stuffing could be anything, but commonly includes cheese, shredded pork, beans, squash, or even plantains. The stuffed pupusas are cooked on a hot, flat griddle or skillet until brown and the dough is cooked through.
In El Salvador, the culture (and by extension the food) is heavily influenced by the indigenous Pipil people and by the Spanish, who wandered south from Mexico (or as they liked to call it, New Spain) in the early sixteenth century. Corn comes from Central America originally, and Salvadoran cooks use corn extensively and in a variety of ways. Seafood, and especially shellfish, preparations are popular, taken from El Salvador’s bountiful coastal areas. The Olympia, Washington area in which we reside, small as it is (the 179th largest metropolitan area in the United States!) has at least two excellent, completely independent from each other Salvadoran restaurants to its credit, so we knew we should probably explore Salvadoran food on The World Cup of Food.