Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Salvadoran Pupusas at Bitia's

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Salvadoran Pupusas at Bitia's

Article excerpt

Pupusa? What the heck's a pupusa? That's what I was wondering when my friend Jennifer sent me an email with a Cheap Eats recommendation. Check out Bitia's Taqueria on 17th Street, she wrote: "Pupusa con queso y zucchini ... delicioso!" That's when I started Googling, and that's when I got excited.

A pupusa is a dish from El Salvador that consists of a griddled disc of cornmeal dough mixed up with whatever ingredients you like - - typically some combination of cheese, beans, vegetables, chicken and pork. A single pupusa at Bitia's is about the size of a small plate, and comes with both green and red chili sauces, plus a small cup of curtido, a funky fermented cabbage slaw. Two or three Bitia's pupusas make for a filling lunch, and at $2-$2.50 a pop, you're eating well for not much at all.

I'm feeling sort of vegetarian today, electing to try one pupusa with cheese and beans and one with cheese and zucchini. My lunch companion, recently crowned vice-chair Kevin, gets a few veggie versions, too, including one made with loroco, a vine flower common to Salvadoran cuisine.

At first glance, the pupusas look like pancakes, small rounds of dough pockmarked with black spots from the flattop. But what's great about pupusas is the way the ingredients are incorporated into the dough. The cheese and beans aren't piled on top or tucked into a pocket--they're mixed in evenly throughout, filling all of the dough with flavor. A long string of cheese follows my fork as I bring a bite to my mouth.

The mix of lactic goo and toasted corn is blessed enough, but it's improved by whatever other ingredients you want to toss in there. Beans provide a rich, earthy touch, while the zucchini Jennifer recommended ("calabazita" on the restaurant's untranslated whiteboard menu) quickly emerges as a favorite. I typically hate zucchini, so often watery and bland, but here it's flavorful and sauteed down to extract the excess moisture. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.