El Zocalo: Cheap & Big Pupusas
3230 Mission St
(between 29th St & Valencia St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
This place is on the border of the Mission and Bernal Heights, and it’s open pretty darn late. If you’ve got a hankering for some El Salvadorean pupusas, this is the place that locals know about.
What are pupusas? Wikipedia says:
The Salvadoran pupusa (from Pipil pupusawa) is a thick, hand-made corn tortilla (made using masa de maÃz, a maize flour dough used in Latin American cuisine) that is stuffed with one or more of the following: cheese (queso) (usually a soft Salvadoran cheese called Quesillo), fried pork rind (chicharrÃ³n), chicken (pollo), refried beans (frijoles refritos), or queso con loroco (loroco is a vine flower bud from Central America).
This genre of Latin food has a salsa to go along with your order, but I didn’t get the sense that 5-alarm habanero-hot salsa was the way to go. Instead there is a vinegary coleslaw that goes along with the order. I got the combo plate with a pupusa, and two other specialties. But what I want you to focus on … is that the pupusas are $1-3 each. We’ve got a winner!
These guys make your order from scratch. You can oftentimes hear the cooks slapping the cornmeal patty back and forth in their hands before they stuff it full of cheesy goodness.
- Great prices for the pupusas
- Large portions. Not huge, but sizable.
- Made to order, served hot from the kitchen
- Though I didn’t experience it, this place has a reputation for being slow in getting your order to you. That probably has to do with the made-to-order bit. Their kitchen may get backed up and there are only 2-3 ladies slapping away with those cakes. So be patient.
- Meat portions in the meat & cheese pupusas can be small. Potentially miniscule. I compromised with the meat aspect and got chicharron & cheese. Yum.
In trying out the 3 different online menu services that we discussed in an earlier post, here’s the outcome:
Allmenus: No results. (Actually, it sent me to an error page.)
Menupix: No results.
Menupages: No results.
Did I mistype something? Nope, at least there are Yelp reviews.