Best Kid-Friendly Pupusas

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Yummy Eats from El Salvador 

If your kids crave quesadillas, empanadas, or bean and cheese burritos, make room for another Latin American variation of the stuffed tortilla. Pupusas hail from El Salvador, where they’ve even declared a National Pupusa Day, but there are plenty of ways to get a taste of one right here in the Bay. The dish consists of a thicker corn tortilla in a round shape, stuffed with everything from cheese and beans to chicharron and cabbage, usually with some pickled veggies or salsa on the side, and they make a great finger food for little ones.

In Oakland, satisfy your pupusa craving at award-winning Los Cocos in the Fruitvale area (1449 Fruitvale Ave.). The restaurant is small and informal, but the kids won’t mind. The pupusas here are as authentic as you’ll find in El Salvador, with a variety of ingredient combinations to choose from. If you’re wandering the Jack London Square Farmers Market, Etrellita’s Snacks, based in San Francisco, will serve you warm pupusas made to order. Speaking of San Francisco, try Balompie Café (3349 18th St.) in the Mission.

Pupusas, when they’re made right, are fresh and filling, are inviting to the kids, and a bargain at only about $2.50 each. If you’re in the mood to stay home, you can also purchase pre-made pupusas in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods, or try your hand at making your own, homemade pupusas using nothing more than masa harina, water, and crumbled cheese. The stuffing can evolve from cheese to anything you or the littles are craving, from beans to meat to spicy jalapenos. Try this recipe for easy Pupusas  for starters.


—Renee Rutledge