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Culinary Tour 2010 • El Salvador

January 19, 2010 by Joan Nova in Culinary Tour Around the World, Events, Side Dishes, Vegetables | 13 Comments

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America  (and this may be my smallest post on the tour). After hours of googling ‘food of El Salvador” in absolutely every contortion possible, I found hundreds of references to pupusa, a biscuit-like flatbread made from corn — and not much else that was unique. In most part, their ‘traditional dishes’ are those of their neighbors.

Further, aside from the historic saga of conquistadors and Indios, I was really stuck on what to say about the country. Then I stumbled upon an announcement from Lonely Planet naming El Salvador as one of the top 10 countries for 2010. Apparently, they have great weather all year round, their beaches are ‘the best’, it’s not over-crowded with tourists, and it’s less expensive than other destinations. Things were looking up. :)

But this is about food. After umpteen hours on google, there was only one dish I wanted to try and here it is.

Salvadoran Grilled Elote Loco! CRAZY CORN!

Coming off the grill.

The “loco” part.

The Set-Up

The Slather

I started with a Maricel Presilla recipe which I got from the newly- and dearly-departed, Gourmet Magazine but, because my family and I are not so keen on mayo, I also took inspiration from Food Junta for the ‘crazy’ part. Our crazy mixture included: sour cream, ketchup, mustard, cayenne, grated parmesan and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Though this may seem like a simple dish (and it is), it was quite a stretch for me. I don’t even put butter on corn, preferring the natural and sweet flavor of the corn to stand alone — but all recipes say ‘slather’, so slather I did!

Next Stop: Nicaragua, January 25

Round-Up: Wednesday, January 20

Event Details

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Ben says:

    Nice! This reminds me of the way we eat elotes in Mexico. If this cold allows me I’d love to make a stop in El Salvador.

  2. Erica says:

    That corn looks delicious,Joan! I love that sauce.

  3. sippitysup says:

    Beautiful corn. I have now been to every Central American country except Nicaragua. Though I am not sure if I can count El Salvador because I never left the airport. I hope I haven’t missed your Panama post yet. GREG

  4. The corn looks delicious, Joan! I really wanted to participate this week and tried to make a Salvadorian quesadilla cake but it was a disaster of huge proportions, really very discouraging. I will try to join you at another destination.

  5. Núria says:

    Mmm, que rico Joan! What if I bring some wine and come for a quick visit? Here is so cold, rainny and grey… I hate it! Grill and Barbaque remind me of hot weather :D.

  6. I LOVE CORN and this looks super delish… me some

  7. Nathan says:

    The Salvadorian kitchen actually has tons of signature dishes ( i know my half-sister is Salvadorian)

    Their tamales are uniquely theirs, the “quesadilla salvadorena” (salvadorian quesadilla a type of sweet cheese bread), their version of cocido made with plantains and yuca, “pan con pavo” (turkey and bread, the turkey is stewed a certain way), the empanadas de platano (sweet plantain dough stuffed with custard and fried), and an assortment of drinks such as “atole de platano”, “chilate”, “fresco de ensalada” their horchata is unique made with certain seeds nad nuts the color is completely different and the taste from the mexican and spaniard horchata.

    Lastly their famous Casamiento which is black beans sauteed with black rice into a sticky rice type of dish and the Pastelitos made from corn dough stuffed with meat and fried.

    Also well known for their stew made with “Pata de Res” people say that thtat stew “levanta muertos” lol.

    and I love Nuegados de Yuca which are cheese and cassava root fritters in cinnamon syrup.

    I should’ve participated in this one :)

    For any friends living in Spain reading this you might want to buy “La Cocina Salvadorena” by LEXUS EDITORES printed in Spain 2007 the recipes are by Chef Almicar Guerra one of our friends brothers. I have the book and it’s amazing, though it’s only written in Spanish

    • Joan says:

      Wow…thank you, Nathan. Your comment is very enlightening. Please do try to participate somewhere along the way. We’d love to have you!

  8. Peter G says:

    The “choklo” certainly looks loco. Glad I found this post…see you on the next stop!

  9. I have tried a sumilar “loco” corn in Mexico. I imagine the cuisines of each of the South American countries are overlapping but each has their unique dishes. See you in Nicaragua!!!!

  10. Peter says:

    Joan, the pub that I frequent has a whole crew in the kitchen from El Salvador. I have to quiz them on their cuisine.

  11. RobinSue says:

    I love Salvadorian food and esp. papusas. Your corn looks divine and I can’t wait to look at the round up post in a few seconds.

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