The typical foods of El Salvador have a great influence both indigenous and foreign, by Spaniards, Italians and Americans, who left their mark on the kitchens of this Central American country.
This gastronomy is rich in unique flavors and nuances, which make it authentic. Let us know in this article the 30 typical foods of El Salvador.
Pupusas are the most representative dish of Salvadoran cuisine. They are like tortillas similar to the Mexican gorditas but thicker and made with either corn or rice, ingredients with which the dough is prepared.
Once cooked, they are opened and filled with beans, ground pork rinds, cheese, shrimp, or any other available component.
The most popular pupusas are the “vueltas” stuffed with pork rinds, cheese and beans. All are served with natural tomato sauce and pickles prepared with cabbage, carrot, grated onion and chili; all soaked in vinegar.
2. Salvadoran Tamales
Tamales are not only part of the typical foods of El Salvador, they are also among the typical dishes of Mexico and other Central American countries.
The dough is prepared with corn and various spices that give it the delicious flavor they offer. Individual portions are made that are filled with pork, duck or chicken meat and natural tomato sauce. Before cooking in boiling water they are wrapped in banana leaves.
Salvadoran tamales are:
The corn dough is stuffed with beans and cheese. No meat of any kind is used.
They are prepared with the traditional corn dough to which chipilín is added, a typical plant that gives it a distinctive flavor. When serving, tomato sauce is poured with a touch of spice.
This type of tamale is made with corn grains when the cob is still tender. Cream, milk, butter, and sometimes sugar are added to the dough instead of salt.
These tamales are wrapped in cob leaves, not banana leaves.
3. Fried or boiled yucca
Both fried and boiled, cassava is part of the typical foods of El Salvador, a tuber that Salvadorans eat as a snack, “snack” or snack.
Cassava is accompanied by chicharrones, pieces of pork or “pescadas”, small fish typical of the country that are prepared fried.
Fried cassava can also be served with tomato sauce, pickles, tomatoes and cucumbers.
4. Paw soup
Soup whose base ingredient is the extremities of the cow, to which vegetables such as plantain, cabbage, yucca, pipianes, green beans and güisquil are added.
When serving it, add jalapeño peppers in small pieces, onion and cilantro. A few drops of lemon will give them a more exotic flavor.
The salpicón is another of the typical foods of El Salvador. It is prepared with cooked beef cut into very small pieces, to which mint, onion, chopped radishes, salt and lemon are added.
In a variant of the salpicón, the beef is replaced by rabbit meat.
6. Buns with chicken
Typical food from El Salvador also known as “panes migueleños”, because it is tradition to eat them in the eastern part of the country where the Department of San Miguel is located.
They are prepared from an elongated flour loaf that is filled with lettuce, watercress, tomato and cucumber. Although it is not part of the main ingredients, it can also be marinated.
Portions of chicken meat are placed on top of the vegetables and when they are eaten, they are bathed in natural tomato sauce.
Atoles are one of the typical foods of El Salvador and there are different types. They are thick and are eaten hot.
They are prepared based on corn, cashew nuts, roasted corn and pineapple. The most famous of all is the atol shuco, one made from fermented corn, water and alhuashte, a powder obtained by grinding squash seeds.
Chilate is also prepared, an atol made of corn, ginger and allspice. They are made to accompany sweet dishes.
8. Seafood soup
Soup with one or more shellfish and fish heads that are initially boiled in water with tomatoes, onions, green chili, coriander, pepper, and salt.
When having this broth, seafood such as clams, octopus, crabs, squid, prawns and shrimp broth are added. Let it cook until ready.
When serving, cilantro and chopped chives are added on top, along with a splash of lemon juice. If it is the diner’s taste, you can also add a little milk cream.
9. Rooster in chicha
Gallo en chicha is a recipe from both traditional Salvadoran and European cuisine. A meal to celebrate the birth of children, graduations and other events.
The dish contains chicken or rooster meat that is cooked in a chicha prepared with pineapple (including the pulp and shells), banana (with everything and shell), corn and a sweet panela that gives it a strong characteristic flavor.
10. Black rice
Of the typical foods of El Salvador that can be eaten either alone or accompanied by salpicón.
The black rice is obtained by cooking the rice in the broth of the black beans, without including the grains.
Salvadorans accompany it with any type of meat or combined with salpicón as in San Vicente. In any case, a pickle is placed at the time of serving.
11. Fried cakes
The base of the fried cakes is a dough prepared with corn to which seasonings and achiote are added. Its shape is half moon and they are filled with meat, chicken or stewed vegetables.
They are fried in abundant oil and served accompanied by natural tomato sauce and pickles.
Salvadoran enchiladas are eaten mid-afternoon as a savory snack.
With the dough, thin tortillas are made and fried in a pan with plenty of oil. Once ready, they are left to rest and pickled, hard-boiled egg, avocado, grated cheese and natural tomato sauce are placed on them.
On some occasions and before placing the pickle, the tortilla is covered with a mass of ground beans, and then continue with the indicated sequence.
Another Salvadoran food that is eaten as a snack along with a coffee.
The empanadas are made with a dough made from a puree of ripe bananas, with which rounded tortillas are made and filled with ground beans, which are then fried in abundant oil.
When they are well browned, they are sprinkled with sugar or eaten as they come out of the pan.
Quesadillas are a dessert that is eaten throughout El Salvador, a baked bread with cheese, cream and milk, which is accompanied by a cup of coffee. They can be eaten hot or cold, depending on the taste of the consumer.
Despite being a typical dish from El Salvador, it is one of the least known. They are fried cakes made with seasoned corn dough and wrapped in corn or banana leaves. They are eaten with cheese and cream.
16. Indian Hen
Soup prepared with a Creole or “Indian” chicken (raised in the patios of the houses).
The bird is cooked with tomatoes, onions, garlic and chiles and is left to boil until its meat softens. Potatoes, chopped carrots and chufles are added and the broth is seasoned with aromatic herbs such as mint and coriander. Let it cook until the vegetables are ready and serve with a little chopped coriander on top.
17. Crazy Corn
Elotes are always present in Salvadoran cuisine; in this case it is about elotes locos, another typical food from El Salvador.
The corn is cooked in water until the grains are soft; a toothpick should be inserted along the cob to hold it easily. When they are ready, they are bathed in mayonnaise sauce, a little mustard is added, a few lines of tomato sauce and finally, others of black sauce. To finish, the corn is sprinkled with grated cheese.
18. Cassava with pork rinds
Cassava with chicharrón is one of the easiest typical foods of El Salvador to prepare.
One of its most attractive components is the chirmol, tomato sauce, onion and spicy green chili cut into small pieces, to which salt, pepper and vinegar are added.
Cassava must first be cooked in boiling water and then fried in oil. The pork rinds are placed on it and everything is covered with the chirmol sauce.
19. Crab soup
The Salvadoran crab is one of the richest in flavors and for this reason it is used to prepare one of the typical foods of El Salvador: crab soup.
In addition to the crustacean, the recipe includes carrots, potatoes, bananas and the essential spices to obtain the desired result.
The cilantro along with the tomatoes is mandatory to give the Salvadoran crab soup that special touch that makes it unique.
When serving, add a little chopped cilantro and a splash of lemon juice.
20. Bean soup
The main ingredient in this soup is beans. It also has some vegetables, some beef or pork, condiments, the inevitable dumplings and the güisquil (vegetable), typical of these preparations in El Salvador.
21. Fritters with honey
Fritters with honey are a typical food from El Salvador that can be eaten for lunch, snack or dinner.
They are prepared from a dough made with cooked yucca to which eggs, a touch of salt and some sugar are added. Balls are made and fried in oil and when serving they are bathed in honey.
An excellent company to enjoy these rich fritters is chilate.
Chilate is one of the typical drinks of El Salvador, where it occupies a very prominent place. It is made with a toasted nuance, cocoa and chili, although it can also contain anise, ginger, pepper and cinnamon.
23. Banana Canoes
Banana canoes are a dessert whose preparation requires bananas that are not very ripe, but not green either, which are peeled and fried in oil.
Being cooked and golden on all sides, they are removed from the heat, allowed to cool and opened in half, but without cutting them completely.
In the opening is placed the filling cream made from cornstarch, milk, eggs and condensed milk. They are decorated with raisins and sprinkled cinnamon.
Another sweet dessert type among the typical foods of El Salvador. They are cassava or corn meatballs fried in abundant oil or lard, which when served are bathed in a honey prepared with sweet panela.
Traditional dessert on All Souls’ Day.
They are flat and crunchy doughs (because they are fried) made with wheat flour. They can reach up to 35 centimeters in length. At the moment of serving they are bathed with honey prepared with sweet panela.
26. Jocotes in honey
Dessert traditionally prepared for the days of Holy Week, also popular in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
The jocotes or plums of bone, as they are also known, are cooked in a syrup made with sweet panela and cloves and cinnamon sticks are added.
They are left to boil until the syrup has the desired consistency and after cooling, they are eaten.
27. Salvadoran Minutes
Minutes are a refreshing dessert consisting of shaved ice bathed in strawberry, pineapple, vanilla, lemon, orange and many other flavored syrups.
In any street in the country you will see the “minute keeper”, a man who sells minutes with his cart loaded with ice and bottles of sweet syrups.
28. Salvadoran Coffee
El Salvador’s coffee is considered among the best in the world, a typical drink of the country to drink in the morning or at any time of the day.
29. Hot Chocolate
Both in El Salvador and in most Western countries, hot chocolate is drunk on cold mornings and evenings to warm the body. It also serves as a snack to accompany empanadas, flakes or a piece of bread.
To prepare the rich Salvadoran chocolate, the butter of the cocoa nut is extracted and mixed with sugar, with which a sweet paste is obtained that is diluted in water and milk. During its preparation, cinnamon or cloves are added.
30. Nance liqueur
This typical drink from El Salvador is made with the fruits of the nance tree, a typical plant from Central America and Mexico.
If very ripe fruits are used, the liquor will have a very sweet flavor with a touch of acidity. The nance has a quite marked and characteristic smell.
Like all drinks made in an artisanal way, the longer it takes to make it, the more flavor the wine or liqueur de nance will have.
What are the typical foods of El Salvador?
Among the typical foods of El Salvador we can mention pupusas, cashew atole, seafood soup, Indian chicken, fried cakes, empanadas, salpicón, crab soup and riguas.
Typical drinks of El Salvador
Among the typical drinks of El Salvador we have chilate, Salvadoran coffee, atole, chocolate and fresh fruit such as tamarind, pineapple, passion fruit and nance liqueur.
Salvadoran main dishes
The main dishes of El Salvador are beef leg soup, salpicón, bread with chicken, rooster in chicha, crab soup, seafood soup and tamales with all their types.
Typical things of El Salvador
El Salvador has many typical things such as minutas, elotes locos, flakes up to 35 centimeters, banana canoes, and empanadas made with banana dough.
Typical food of San Miguel, El Salvador
Although in San Miguel we can find other typical and traditional foods, the most outstanding dish is bread with chicken, also known as pan migueleño, because it is typical of the Department of San Miguel, in the east of the country.
Typical food of Ahuachapán, El Salvador
The typical and favorite dish in Ahuachapán is yucca, one that is prepared as a snack or craving to savor in the afternoon and is usually accompanied with pieces of pork or pork rinds.
These were the 30 typical foods of El Salvador. We invite you to share this article with your friends on social networks.
- We leave you our guide on the 40 typical Nicaraguan foods that you should try
- Also read our guide on the 40 best tourist places in Guatemala that you have to visit
- Do our guide on the 50 best beaches in the Caribbean that you have to know