Salvadoran Cuisine

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Salvadoran cuisine is a brand of cooking unique to the sovereign nation of El Salvador. Traditional Salvadoran cuisine is comprised of a combination of native and other cuisines, including Native American cuisine, Maya, Pipil and Spanish/European.

Salvadoran Cuisine Public Domain

Pupusa with Tomato Sauce

Many consider El Salvador’s most famous dish to be the pupusa. Puposa is a thick, handmade rice or corn flour tortilla stuffed with chicharrón (cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency), cheese, loroco (a vine flower bud indigenous to Central America), and/or refried beans.

You can also find, in some upscale restaurants, papusas filled with spinach or shrimp or spinach – these are typically served with salsa roja, a simple yet tasty Salvadoran tomato sauce, usually accompanied with curtido. There are vegetarian options too, often with a type of squash called ayote and/or garlic.

Another very popular dish is called Pollo encebollado – which is made with chicken simmered with onions. At many Salvadoran meals you will be served locally made cheeses, such as queso fresco (fresh cheese), queso duro (hard cheese), and cuajada – a cheese made with ewe’s milk.

Also notable among Salvadoran dishes are panes rellenos and yuca frita. Panes Rellenos (“Stuffed Bread”) are warm sandwiches, submarine style. Chicken or Turkey is marinated, then slow-roasted with Pipil spices, and then hand-pulled, then stuffed into the sandwich. Panes Rellenos are traditionally served with condiments of fresh tomato and watercress, along with onion, chili, lettuce, cucumber, mustard and mayonnaise. Yuca frita is made by deep frying (or sometimes boiling) cassava root, and then serving it with a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping (called curtido) and fried baby sardines, called pepesca.

Salvadoran cuisine offers an abundance of tasty meat entrees, such as lomo entomatado (beef with tomatoes), carne guisada (saucy beef with potatoes and carrots),  pollo guisado con hongos (chicken with mushrooms), and carne asada (grilled steak, usually served with a type of Salvadoran salsa called chimol).

Pacalla is an interesting treat made with palm flowers breaded in cornmeal, then fried and served with tomato sauce. And for seafood lovers, Salvadoran cuisine has many offerings. Two of the most popular are pescado empanizado (breaded, fried fish fillets), and ceviche de camarone – which is a salad made with raw shrimp that has been “cooked” by being marinated in lime juice.


The recipes listed below are hyperlinked to print-friendly pages with just that dish on it. Have a wonderful time journeying into the delightfully flavorful world of …

Salvadoran Cuisine!


Ceviche de Camaron

Crab in Pepita Sauce

Pescado Empanizado con Avena (Breaded, seasoned, deep fried fish fillets)

Pupusas con Carne de Cerdo y Queso (Pupusas with Pork and Cheese)


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