Everything is sweeter in El Salvador

Pastries in Usulutan, near one of the offices of Fundacion Campo

Not only are things sweeter and delicious, but there is no such a thing as “light” or “diet” versions of anything (as far as I can tell). The delectable corn products are also sooo good that I could transition into a corn-only-based diet rather quickly. Such diet would include:

Pupusas: Corn patties that usually come filled with cheese, or a combination of cheese and beans, or cheese and chicharron (crispy pork skin). They are usually served with ketchup, a black sauce and some picked cabbage and carrots on the side. Although these are not sweet, they are a must here in El Salvador.

Cheese and bean pupusas

Tamales de elote: these are corn tamales which are sweet, of course. And you can have the steamed, or even better, fried version of it. The chicken version are one of my favorite so far. They are usually served for breakfast along with black beans, sweet plantains, cheese, and maybe some scrambled eggs. Yum!

Corn tamales, sweet deliciousness for bfast!

Elotes locos: corn on the cobb with mayo, cheese, and  a misterious black sauce that no one has been able to tell me what’s made of…

Elote Loco, a popular snack in El Salvador

Riguas: Grilled corn meal. They are made similar to the Pupusas, but they are not stuffed. They are grilled on corn leaves and then you can add cheese on top when cooked.

Riguas, very similar to pupusas

Quesadilla (not to be confused with the Mexican version): these can be made out of rice or corn. They taste very similar to corn bread, but I’ve been told they also have cheese in them, hence the name.

Quesadillas, very similar to corn bread but with cheese

I tried this with horchata,  a drink made with dry morro seeds. The morro(also known as totumo in Colombia) is a fruit that has a hard shell, and grows attached to the trunk of the Morro tree. This shell is used as cups and/or bowls. Unlike the Mexican horchata (which is made with rice), the Salvadorian version is made with the dried Morro seeds. You take the seeds, grind them up, and mix them with milk and sometimes cinnamon or cocoa. Apparently the rest of the fruit is given to the cows – not so good for people. The horchata is very very sweet, and of course, high in calories. Ohh-so-delicious!


Morro tree with the morro fruit attached to the trunk

Although I’ve only been in El Salvador for 6 days, I have to say that the sweetest thing about this country are its people. Salvadoreans are incredibly warm and welcoming. They have taken me into their homes, shared their meals with me, and guided me through their streets from the minute I landed. I can’t wait to see what else El Salvador, also known as “the country with a smile,” has to offer.

Andrea Ramirez is part of KF16, working with Fundacion Campo in San Miguel, El Salvador.  Fundacion Campo is a new Kiva Field Partner, please be on the look out for the Fundacion’s partner page in the next few days. For those who would like to learn more about the work of Fundacion Campo while practicing their Spanish, you can watch their institutional video here.

About the author

Andrea Ramirez