Pupusas & Antojitos. Another food truck rolls up, which means an impromptu lunch for me. I don’t think I have ever tried Salvadorian cuisine, so sampling the most popular from a travelling food truck seemed like the best solution to rectify this. It’s tomato red, pearl white, and lime green colour scheme is a little hard to miss. And the palm tree painted on the side with the authentic music playing from the back, gives you a come hither hint of the exotic. The music was catchy and definitely as colourful as the truck. All together, this was definitely hard to avoid looking at when you walked by.
I am always too eager when I see a new foodtruck. They say 11am and I show up 5 minutes to, only to have to wait 30 minutes after. Though today the staff member was nice enough and my patience was appreciated. When the side panel lifted, what appeared was a mother and son team working out of the truck. (At least I think they were mother and son). He ran the front and conveyed the order to her. Given the chance he also helped to prep the food. I wasn’t the only customer to order and when her food came up it was hard to hear past the trumpets and maracas found in each song.
The menu was easy to navigate with a coloured diagram showing what a “pupusa”, their main speciality was. This included a picture and placement of each ingredient in its maize tortilla. Each “pupusa” is filled with cheese, seasoned pork, and savory refried beans. And comes with a side of mild tomato sauce and “curtido”, a pickled slaw. They can also be made vegetarian, by being filled with vegetables and beans. Between chicken and pork, I got the “Chicharron (pork) pupusa” platter, which comes with a side of “yucca frita”. The shell was soft like naan bread, made mushy with the black beans tucked inside. There were more beans then pork, and they overpowered the whole thing. Each bite needed a bit of slaw to give it that juicy crunch that was missing without it. A pop of colour and spritz of freshness was also missing, more than what the salsa and slaw could supply alone. The fries were thick cut, deep fried cassava root. The texture is crispy because it isn’t battered. It is done so well that you get that battered taste and texture without the transfat. But fries without dip is a shame, they could have really used a creamy sauce to soften each stick. Even just mayo would have help.
“Pasteles”, crisp fried mini sized pockets, stuffed with beef or chicken and diced vegetables. I ordered one of each. Looking at them I was skeptical if they would be stuffed sufficiently, as is often the case when you order dumplings. So was delighted when I cut in and everything oozed out. The chicken was packed full of cheese, there was no skimping here. Each bite was like a creamy Alfredo morsel. Soft and melty inside, crispy from the deep frying outside. The beef “pastele” was more flavourful. And when the addition of vegetables, it reminded me of shepard’s pie, without the potato. These were great handheld snacks, sort of like a fancy pizza pocket.
“Horchata”, a traditional beverage made with morro seeds, ground cocoa, cinnamon, sesame seeds, and vanilla. It is a sweet milky drink that reminded me of what is left over after you finish your bowl of cinnamon toast crunch cereal. The food was made on the spot so a wait was required. But the drink came fast, as it premade and churning in a container before it was poured to my cup.
Would I come back? – No. I found the food just ok, not something I personally would crave for. Despite its flavours and its appearance, it is not to be confused with Mexican cuisine. Where I find Mexican food bold, fresh and flavourful; this lacked the same spicy and overall kick. It all seemed a little bland and continue to taste like it was missing something. An original twist or spin to make it stand out?
Would I recommend it? – Yes. For those like me, who have yet to try Salvadorian food this is a great place to start. You need not commit to larges portions, and the prices are decent in case you find it not your type of food. They also deliver as noted by the “don’t cook just eat . ca” tag. How convenient will your first Salvadorian experience be? Don’t deny your craving.