It’s easy to think that you don’t have the means to travel, but if you live in a city or anywhere near a city, you have to chance to travel to different cultures daily. Today my Mom, Carp and I had a Salvadoran lunch at Las Palmas in Kansas City, Kansas. The cuisine in El Salvador is a mix of Native America, indigenous (Lenca), Mayan, Pipil and European Spanish food.
We ate chips and salsa, followed by pupusas. Pupusas are thick, handmade corn tortillas filled with different ingredients: frijoles (beans), queso (cheese), chicharrón (pork) or loroco (a vine flower bud from Central America).
Pupusas are served on plates, and look like pancakes. Bowls of salsa and curtido (lightly fermented cabbage which tastes similar to cole slaw) are set on the table, and you pass the bowls around and spoon the cabbage and salsa on top of your pupusas.
I ordered frijoles pupusas with Central American rice, and Carp and my mom got loroco pupusas. Lunch was delicious, healthy feeling and filling. We ended lunch so I could run to my writing group, and my mom headed back to work. Carp went to search the local thrift stores for a new belt.
Kansas City, Kansas is the neighborhood that Carp and I lived in last year. It has a huge immigrant population, with a great Hispanic influence on the local food, language and lifestyle.
Last week we went to a Honduran restaurant in Kansas City, Kansas called “Delicias de Honduras.” Honduran food is a mix of indigenous (Lenca), Spanish, Caribbean and African cuisine. We sat down and were served chips and salsa, and dipping my chip into the salsa, I was surprised to find the salsa warmed up, instead of the cold salsa you come to expect with chips at Mexican restaurants.
I ordered baleada, which is a Honduran street food consisting of big, thick and soft homemade flour tortillas filled with refried beans, sour cream and another type of cheese which reminded me of feta cheese. You can also add avocado, steak, eggs, or whatever else you want into your baleada.
My parents ordered Honduran fried chicken, along with beans and plantains.
“Which kind of plantain?” the waitress smiled and asked my mom.
My mom asked what the difference was, and the waitress explained that some plantains are fried with the unripe green plantains, and some are fried with very ripe, sweet plantains. The green plantains which are fried twice are called Tostones and the sweet plantains, only fried once, are called Maduros.
Biting into my baleada, I was surprised to find that Honduran food is not particularly spicy. It probably wasn’t at all the right way to eat the food, but I took the salsa that was for the chips and used it to dip my baleada in. The tortilla was so delicious and filling.
In light of recent events, I think its important to realize that the impacts of our country’s leadership are far reaching, and are reaching out into all the communities of America right now. This is not the time to stay inside and continue to eat the same food you’ve eaten your whole life, this is an opportunity to learn about the world, and show solidarity with our immigrant neighbors who represent the beauty of diversity in our world.
Trying something new is always scary, but I’ll take pupusas and baleadas over over Trump and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) anyday.
Photo Credit: http://12227-presscdn-0-12.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Central-America.png