Pupusas are what I consider to be the national dish of El Salvador. They are cheese/meat filled masa pockets of sorts but this description does not do justice to their taste. When my students ask if they are like quesadillas. I reluctantly answer "yes but.. NO!!!" They are special! Of course they are special to me because I was born in El Salvador but I really do feel they have their own charm. It would be like saying all Latin American food is the same. No it is most definitely not! Here is a great description I found online "The El Salvadorean pupusa is similar in concept to the Mexican quesadilla, but executed differently. For quesadillas, cheese is placed on tortillas that have already been baked. The tortilla is either folded over, or a second tortilla is placed on top. Then the whole quesadilla is grilled to melt the cheese and toast the already cooked tortilla. The sides are open. Pupusas, on the other hand, are made by building raw masa (corn flour) dough around cheese or other fillings, flattened, then cooked all at once together. The cheese is enclosed within the pupusa."
Along with the pupusa you must have Curtido (pic above). It is pickled cabbage with peppers and it is amazing. I could eat a tub full of this stuff, it is so good. If you live in LA, DC or NY, Pupusas should not be too hard to find.
Out here in the Inland Empire of SoCal I have found 3 places that serve pupusas. Last weekend B and I had lunch at Su Ranchito 410 E. 6th St. (909) 769-6627 in downtown Beaumont. We also enjoy La Carreta in Rialto 345. S. Foothill Blvd (909 875-1680). And earlier this year we found La Milpa 3812 Pierce St. in Riverside (951) 354-0300. Pupusas are not too hard to make ( I've heard!) and there a quite a few recipes floating around online that seem easy enough. I hope next time you have a Latin American craving you might consider trying unas pupusas!