Salvadoran cuisine is a style of cooking derived from the nation of El Salvador, derived from both Mesoamerican (mainly Pipil and Lenca) and Spanish origins. Many of the dishes are made with maize (corn). There is also heavy use of pork and seafood.
El Salvador's most notable dish is the pupusa , a thick handmade corn flour or rice flour flatbread stuffed with cheese, chicharrón (cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency), refried beans or loroco (a vine flower bud native to Central America). There are also vegetarian options, often with ayote (a type of squash) or garlic. Some restaurants even offer pupusas stuffed with shrimp or spinach which are served with salsa roja, a cooked tomato sauce, often served with curtido . Pollo encebollado is another popular Salvadoran dish that contains chicken simmered with onions. Salvadoran cheeses, queso duro (hard cheese), queso fresco (fresh cheese), and cuajada , are eaten with meals.
Two other typical Salvadoran dishes are yuca frita and panes rellenos . Yuca frita is deep-fried cassava root served with curtido (a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping) and chicharron with pepesca (fried baby sardines). The yuca is sometimes served boiled instead of fried. Panes rellenos ("stuffed bread") are warm submarine sandwiches. The turkey or chicken is marinated and then roasted with Pipil spices and hand-pulled. This sandwich is traditionally served with turkey or chicken, tomato, and watercress along with cucumber and cabbage.
Other well-known Salvadoran dishes include carne guisada (saucy beef with potatoes and carrots), lomo entomatado (beef with tomatoes), carne asada (grilled steak, usually served with a type of Salvadoran salsa called chimol), pasteles de carne (meat pies), pollo guisado con hongos (chicken with mushrooms), pacaya planta (palm flowers breaded in cornmeal, fried and served with tomato sauce), pavo salvadoreño (roast turkey with sauce, often eaten for Christmas), ceviche de camarones (lime-cooked shrimp), and pescado empanizado (breaded, fried fish fillets). Salvadorean chorizo is short, fresh (not dried) and tied into twin sausages.
El Salvador is known for different types of tamales, which are usually wrapped in plantain leaves. These tamales include:
Soups are popular among Salvadorans of every social level.
Sopa de pata is a soup made from the tripe of a cow, plantain, corn, tomatoes, cabbage and spices, locally a delicacy.
Sopa de res is a soup made from beef shank, beef bone with meat, carrots, plantain, corn, potatoes, zucchini, and many other ingredients.
Gallo en chicha is a soup made with rooster, corn, dulce de tapa, and sometimes other things.
Sopa de pescado is a soup made out of fish or seafood with corn flour, tomatoes, green peppers, cumin, achiote and other ingredients, commonly eaten for the Christian holiday of Good Friday.
Sopa de pollo is a chicken stew with tomatoes, green peppers, guisquil, carrots, potatoes, consommé , and other ingredients.
Sopa de gallina india is a chicken broth with vegetables. Some people add lorocos and cream.
Sopa de frijoles (bean soup) is a red bean soup.
Salpicón or picadillo is a dish made with minced beef, mint and onions. Some people add rice.
Panes rellenos (stuffed bread) are warm sandwiches, often made with chicken, carne asada, or turkey. The chicken or turkey is marinated and then roasted with Pipil spices and hand-pulled. This sandwich is traditionally served with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and watercress.
Salvadoran desserts include pan dulce, semita , Salvadoran quesadilla (a type of cheese-based pastry, similar to the Honduran rosquillo and unrelated to the Mexican quesadilla), torta de yema, marquezote , salpores , poleada (vanilla custard), arroz con leche (rice pudding), atol de elote , atol de piña, empanadas de platano (plantain patties), and many others. The dulce de leche of El Salvador has a soft, crumbly texture, with an almost crystallized form. Fruits are widely consumed, the most popular being mangoes, coconuts, papayas, and bananas. Sometimes fruit with ice cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top is served.
Teenagers usually drink cokas (soft drinks) like Coca-Cola, while young and old alike drink coffee, El Salvador's top export. Viejitas ,"little old ladies", are biscuits dipped in morning coffee.
A very popular soda that originated in El Salvador is Kolachampan , which is a soda with sugar cane flavor. Minutas, shaved ice flavored with fruit flavored syrup, and horchata , a beverage made from rice milk and a mix of spices such as cinnamon, peanut beverage, ajonjolí (sesame seeds) and morro, are popular throughout the country and enjoyed on a hot day.
Licuados are like the minutas with added fresh fruit and (sometimes) milk. Refrescos refer to lemonades or other sweetened fruit drinks. Other drinks include Arrayán , Chuco and Chilate . Another popular beverage is ensalada ("salad"), made of pineapple juice with finely chopped fruits, usually apples, marañón, mamey, and watercress.
Tamarindo juice is consumed in all of El Salvador. Coconuts are sold at roadside estansas throughout the country. Typically, they are chopped with machetes and a straw is inserted so that the coconut water can be consumed. Adults drink coconut milk, mixed with vodka, as an aperitif. Vinagre de piña is a drink of trimmed pineapples mixed with Panela and water and set aside to ferment for a few weeks or even months.
The most common alcoholic beverage in El Salvador is beer (cerveza). The most popular brand name is Pilsener (brand). Suprema is considered the premier local brew. Both of these and other popular beers are made by Industrias La Constancia. More recently, Cerveza Cadejohas become increasingly popular in El Salvador. Cadejo is a microbrewery based in San Salvador that was inspired by US microbreweries. Established in 2004, with their first bottling in 2015, Ron Cihuatán is El Salvador's only rum distiller.
The national liquor of El Salvador is Tic Tack, a sugar cane distillate. Tick Tack has similar flavors to cachaça.
Salvadorans eat a large variety of seafood. Salvadoran ceviches are made with clams, oysters, fish, shrimp, snails, octopus, squid, and a type of black clam called conchas by locals. Cocktails and ceviches are prepared with a type of tomato and chopped onion sauce or a dark sauce called Salsa Perring, which is a local way of pronouncing Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, and both are sprinkled with lemon juice.
Salvadorans also eat fried crabs and lobsters or fried fish with garlic and lemon. Shrimps are also eaten roasted, al ajillo , or in butter. There is also a type of seafood soup called mariscada , which contains fish, clams, octopus, squid, shrimp, and crab.
Costa Rican cuisine is known for being fairly mild, with high reliance on fruits and vegetables. Rice and black beans are a staple of most traditional Costa Rican meals, often served three times a day. Costa Rican fare is nutritionally well rounded, and nearly always cooked from scratch from fresh ingredients. Owing to the location of the country, tropical fruits and vegetables are readily available and included in the local cuisine.
Puerto Rican cuisine has its roots in the cooking traditions and practices of Europe, Africa and the native Taínos. Starting from the latter part of the 19th century. Puerto Rican cuisine can be found in several other countries.
Latin American cuisine is the typical foods, beverages, and cooking styles common to many of the countries and cultures in Latin America. Latin America is a highly diverse area of land whose nations have varying cuisines. Some items typical of Latin American cuisine include maize-based dishes arepas, pupusas, tacos, tamales, tortillas and various salsas and other condiments. Sofrito, a culinary term that originally referred to a specific combination of sautéed or braised aromatics, exists in Latin American cuisine. It refers to a sauce of tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, garlic, onions and herbs. Rice and beans are also staples in Latin American cuisine.
A pupusa is a thick griddle cake or flatbread from El Salvador and Honduras, made with cornmeal or rice flour, similar to the Venezuelan and Colombian arepa. In El Salvador, it has been declared the national dish and has a specific day to celebrate it. It is usually stuffed with one or more ingredients which may include cheese, chicharrón, squash, or refried beans. It is typically accompanied by curtido and tomato salsa, and is traditionally eaten by hand.
Sopa de mondongo is a soup made from diced tripe slow-cooked with vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, carrots, cabbage, celery, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic or root vegetables. The dish is generally prepared in former Spanish colonies in Latin America, Caribbean, and in the Philippines.
Colombian cuisine is a compound of the culinary traditions of the six main regions within the country. Colombian cuisine varies regionally and is particularly influenced by Indigenous Colombian, Spanish, and African cuisines, with slight Arab influence in some regions. Furthermore, being one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Colombia has one of the widest variety of available ingredients depending on the region.
Honduran cuisine is a fusion of Mesoamerican (Lenca), Spanish, Caribbean and African cuisines. There are also dishes from the Garifuna people. Coconut and coconut milk are featured in both sweet and savory dishes. Regional specialties include fried fish, tamales, carne asada and baleadas. Other popular dishes include meat roasted with chismol and carne asada, chicken with rice and corn, and fried fish with pickled onions and jalapeños. In the coastal areas and the Bay Islands, seafood and some meats are prepared in many ways, including with coconut milk.
Pasteles, also known as pastelles in the English-speaking Caribbean, are a traditional dish in several Latin American and Caribbean countries. In Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean coast of Colombia, and Panama, it looks like a tamale. In Hawaii, they are called pateles in a phonetic rendering of the Puerto Rican pronunciation of pasteles, as discussed below.
Dominican cuisine is made up of Spanish, indigenous Taíno, Middle-Eastern and African influences. Many Middle-Eastern dishes have been adopted into Dominican cuisine, such as the "Quipe" that comes from the Lebanese kibbeh.
Panamanian cuisine is a mix of African, Spanish, and Native American techniques, dishes, and ingredients, reflecting its diverse population. Since Panama is a land bridge between two continents, it has a large variety of tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs that are used in native cooking.
Most traditional foods in Guatemalan cuisine are based on Maya cuisine, with Spanish influence, and prominently feature corn, chilies and beans as key ingredients. Guatemala is famously home to the Hass avocado and the birthplace of chocolate, as first created by the Mayans.
Belizean cuisine is an amalgamation of all ethnicities in the nation of Belize and their respectively wide variety of foods. Breakfast often consists of sides of bread, flour tortillas, or fry jacks that are often homemade and eaten with various cheeses. All are often accompanied with refried beans, cheeses, and various forms of eggs, etc. Inclusive is also cereal along with milk, coffee, or tea.
Ecuadorian cuisine is diverse, varying with altitude, and associated agricultural conditions. Beef, chicken, and seafood are popular in the coastal regions and are typically served with carbohydrate-rich foods, such as rice accompanied with lentils, pasta, or plantain, whereas in the mountainous regions pork, chicken, beef and cuy are popular and are often served with rice, corn, or potatoes. A popular street food in mountainous regions is hornado, consisting of potatoes served with roasted pig. Some examples of Ecuadorian cuisine in general include patacones, llapingachos, and seco de chivo. A wide variety of fresh fruit is available, particularly at lower altitudes, including granadilla, passionfruit, naranjilla, several types of banana, uvilla, taxo, and tree tomato.
A great variety of cassava-based dishes are consumed in the regions where cassava is cultivated, and they include many national or ethnic specialities.
The cuisine of Chiapas is a style of cooking centered on the Mexican state of the same name. Like the cuisine of rest of the country, it is based on corn with a mix of indigenous and European influences. It distinguishes itself by retaining most of its indigenous heritage, including the use of the chipilín herb in tamales and soups, used nowhere else in Mexico. However, while it does use some chili peppers, including the very hot simojovel, it does not use it as much as other Mexican regional cuisines, preferring slightly sweet seasoning to its main dishes. Large regions of the state are suitable for grazing and the cuisine reflects this with meat, especially beef and the production of cheese. The most important dish is the tamal, with many varieties created through the state as well as dishes such as chanfaina, similar to menudo and sopa de pan. Although it has been promoted by the state of Chiapas for tourism purposes as well as some chefs, it is not as well known as other Mexican cuisine, such as that of neighboring Oaxaca.
Plantain soup is eaten in various cuisines. In Colombian cuisine, the dish is known as sopa de patacón. There is also sopa de platanos in Latin American cuisine including Cuban cuisine and Puerto Rican cuisine.
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