The cuisine of El Salvador is similar to that of its Central American neighbors. There is a strong reliance on indigenous foods like corn, beans, squash and tomatoes. And the influence of Mayan culture on common dishes is quite strong, mixed in with contributions from the Spanish kitchen. But this tiny country on the Pacific coast has made a unique and rich contribution to the region's cuisine that is out of proportion to its small size.
Pupusas (tiny stuffed tortillas filled with beans, cheese or pork meat) are the most popular traditional dish and are sold at restaurants and foodstands all over the country. The pupusa is to El Salvador as the hamburger is to the United States. Because of the hearty world influence, many different ethnic restaurants including French, Chinese, and Italian restaurants pepper the country, especially in the big cities like San Salvador.
For breakfast, Salvadorans usually eat platos típicos (typical plates), which commonly include mashed beans, sour cream, eggs, Salvadoran tortillas, cheese, fried plantains, rice and a cup of Salvadoran coffee. Huevos picados are scrambled eggs mixed with vegetables.They are also very delicious to eat.
Soups and Salad
Soups are popular among Salvadorans of every social level. Sopa de pata is a soup made from patas de res (cow's feet) and sometimes tripe, locally a delicacy. Gallo en chicha is a soup made with rooster in fermented corn liquid, flavored with raisins and sometimes other things.
Salads are uncommon in El Salvador, primarily because polluted water, which is a general problem, contaminates moist raw vegetables, like lettuce, with pathogenic organisms. Usually, ensalada (salad) refers to a fruit beverage.
Salvadoran dessert usually consists of Dulce de Leche, a caramel candy with milk. The dulce de leche of El Salvador has a soft, crumbly texture, different to what most Americans are familiar with. It is almost crystallized in form. Fruits are widely consumed and the most popular are mangoes, papayas and bananas.
Coconuts are also available throughout the country at roadside stands. Typically, they are chopped with machetes and a straw is inserted so that the coconut milk can be consumed. For adults, this drink mixed with vodka is a popular apertif.
Teenagers usually drink gaseosas or sodas (soft drinks) like Coca-cola, while young and old alike drink coffee, El Salvador's top export. A very popular soda that originated in El Salvador is Cola Champan, which is a soda with sugar cane flavor. Minutas, slushy drinks flavored with honey, and horchatas, rice-pudding like smoothies flavored with cinnamon, are popular throughout the country and enjoyed on a hot day. Licuados are like the former, but fresh fruit and sometimes milk are added. Unlike in most Latin American countries, refrescos in El Salvador usually refer to Lemonade or other sweetened fruit drinks. Other drinks include Chicha, Shuco and. Another popular beverage is Ensalada (salad), made of pineapple and orange juice with finely chopped fruits, usually apples, marañon, mamey, and watercrest. Tamarind juice is consumed in Quezaltepeque.
The most common alcoholic beverage is Cerveza (beer). Which in El Salvador is named: Pilsener. This is a 100 year old beverage that is also very representative of El Salvador. Pilsener is exported to several cities around the globe.