I consider my knowledge of Tex-Mex to be beyond acceptable. But my expertise of Salvadoran cuisine needs some help. Luckily, I have a friend at work, Julieta, who grew up in El Salvador and is passionate about the food she misses from home. Luckily for some of us at work, she suggested we drive out to Garland to get some Salvadoran culture wrapped up in a pupusa.
A pupusa is similar to a gordita, only the tortilla-encasing deliciousness is closed in a pupusa, where a goridita is open at one end, usually bearing lettuce, which won’t be found in a pupusa, Julieta said. We went to Pupuseria Lilian for some bean and cheese and a couple of pork-and-cheese pupusas.
Walking in before noon, we were able to find a table. Juli lead the three of us around as she spoke to the employees in Spanish. The interior is “clean,” but has the feeling of a long-established dive, which almost makes the food seem more authentic.
Juli suggested we would need two to fill us each for lunch. I was thankful to get the pork and the bean, as two of the same pupusas would surely get boring quickly. The tortilla case is thick, but softened by the hot, white, mild cheese (traditionally, quesillo) that’s melting among the cheese or pork.
Either option can leave one with a greasy feeling, but the bean is a lighter option than the pork. The bean-and-cheese pupusa is something to add to your comfort-food list. Every bite is a soft, warm bite of comfort. The taste is truly mild (and in need of salt) but delicious in its simplicity.
The pork is satisfying, less comfort-food worthy than the bean and cheese, but a bit drier and, of course, meatier. Though it feels more protein-packed, the melted cheese that is intertwined with the stringy chunks of pork makes it feel like more of a guilty pleasure.
On the side was a slaw made with vinegar. The curtido, as Juli said it was called, was a cool, light break to the hit pupusas.
Other menu items include huevos rancheros for breakfast, tacos and tamales. The food is worth the drive up Garland Road into the suburb of Garland. What may be even better than the comfort of biting into a pupusa may be it’s price — only $1.50 per pupusa here.
Location: 2410 W. Miller Road in Garland, 75041, 972-840-2952
Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ambiance: Casual, comfortable dive
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: None served