Eating Crazy Food in El Salvador
Sorry about the title but this post is not about eating bugs or organs in El Salvador. Instead I am using the word crazy because that is the adjective used to describe the types of food I am eager to present you. Well, I may know what you are thinking. Actually, in El Salvador the terms loco (masculine) or loca feminine) are used.
The word describes a dish mainly because of two reasons:
1) The serving amount is beyond humongous (almost impossible to eat it in one sitting).
2) The dish contains eight to ten ingredients.
Pupusa Loca in Ahuachapan
First, let’s talk about the pupusa loca (crazy pupusa).
A pupusa is a thick, corn tortilla (hand-made) filled with a blend of cheese, pork (chicharron) and refried beans. Loroco (a vine flower bud), mushrooms and other ingredients can also be added to the cheese blend. Pupusas have become the most representative dish of the Salvadoran cuisine (which by the way, is varied and rich in ingredients).
In most cases, a pupusa is the size of a tortilla (the ones used for tacos). Take into consideration that I started the previous sentence with the phrase “in most cases”. I made the clarification because the pupusa loca is about the size of a small pizza. Yes, I am not kidding. This is an extreme pupusa made to satisfy the biggest hunger.
And the size is not the only aspect that makes this dish special. A pupusa loca can contain all of the following ingredients: cheese, beans, loroco, pork, shrimps, ham, onions, peppers, carrots and mushrooms. We are talking about more than a pound of food combined in a sizzling dish.
My favorite place to eat this dish is at the Restaurante La Choza located in the town of Ahuachapan. The restaurant is located at the Panamerican Highway close to the Guatemala border. The cost of a pupusa loca is $6. This is a dish to be shared. The restaurant serves regular sized pupusas and other characteristic plates
Last time I visited Ahuachapan, I had a pupusa loca at a small eatery located at the center of town (cannot remember the name). If you find yourself close to the main plaza, ask around where to find this dish.
Torta Loca in Santa Ana
In Spanish, the word torta has many culinary meanings. In this case, we are referring to the Mexican torta. This is a sandwich served on a rounded roll called telera or birote.
The bread used for a torta has a diameter of 6-8 inches. A torta loca has a diameter of about 12 inches. It is roughly double the size of a regular torta.
This dish is only served at the Restaurante La Antorcha in the city of Santa Ana. The proprietor used to serve panes with gallina (typical chicken sandwiches) to clients. One day a client (and friend) asked her to serve him a crazy sandwich with whatever was on the kitchen. That idea started to gain momentum and after experimenting with different ingredients the torta loca was born. With time different types of tortas (all locas) have been developed and given curious names. For example, you can find “La Bayunca (the rude one)”, “La Manoseada (the one handled by a lot of people)”, “La Picara (the naughty one)” and “La Buena Onda (the good vibe)”.
The ingredients added to the torta can make it weight more than two pounds. You can select among a combination of meat, chicken, chorizo, beans, cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato sauce, onions and other dressings.
Again, this is a dish to be shared. However, if you eat one torta, your name is inscribed in the champion’s book. If you eat two, one is free. If you break the current record, three tortas in 51 minutes, you (and your entire party) eat for free.
The prices range among $3 to $5. The restaurant serves other traditional dishes.
Well, what do you think? Are you up you to the challenge? Are you ready to get crazy (and beyond full) in El Salvador?
Ahuachapan is a city located 100 km (50 miles) from El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador. It is located in the Western part of the country close to the Guatemalan border.
Santa Ana is the second largest city in the country. It is located 64 km northwest of San Salvador.
Have you tried the torta or pupusa loca? Let me know in the comments section below.