Flavors From El Salvador
The Republic of El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, yet home to six diverse ecosystems rich in flora and fauna. It also has a varied cultural heritage, from Mesoamerican – including Xinca and Mayan, to Spanish and African.
Its fertile volcanic soils support numerous crops. These include tropical fruit such as tamarind, cacao, and pineapple, red silk beans, yuca (cassavas), amaranth, sesame, maize, chilies, gourds, and El Salvador’s primary agricultural product, coffee.
Discover Pupusa, Curtido, and Yuca Frita
Thanks to this plentiful plant availability, yuca, maize, beans, and chilies drive the nation’s flavors. Maize or corn flour is used to make atole – a creamy hot drink, tamales dough, and thicken stews. It also forms the base for El Salvador’s iconic stuffed corn cake – the pupusa.
- The pupusa: Part of the nation’s ancient Mesoamerican legacy and its national dish, the pupusa is a handmade tortilla. It’s stuffed with cheese and refried beans or loroco (an edible native vine flower), with the occasional addition of chicharron (pork) to make pupusas revueltas. Along with vegetarian options, some versions are stuffed with spinach or shrimp. These rice or corn flour (masa harina) pupusas are cooked on a comal, a quintessentially El Salvadorian cast iron skillet, leaving their crust toasty with delightfully gooey contents.
- Curtido: A curtido often accompanies tortillas- a cabbage, carrot, and onion salad, also commonly used as a topping for fried yuca and pasteles – fried turnovers. Beans offer local protein and are pureed and cooked down, while less readily available proteins, such as beef, are reserved for special occasions.
- Yuca: With yuca or cassava, easy to come by, other typical Salvadoran dishes include panes con pollo and yuca frita. The latter is deep-fried cassava root with slaw, pork rinds, and pescaditas – fried baby sardines. The former is bread with hand-pulled marinated and roasted chicken or turkey.
- Tropical fruit: Refreshing local pineapple is another essential daily staple. It’s enjoyed in a drinkable version mixed with sugar and water or with mango, orange, melon, and papaya in a fruit salad (refresco de ensalada).
- Coffee: Coffee is appreciated, often with a Quesadilla Salvadoreña. This unique sweet and salty cheese pound cake combines flour, milk, sour cream, and cheese with a sprinkling of locally grown sesame seeds.
Is your mouth watering yet? Ours are! However, booking a flight to San Salvador is unnecessary. These delicious and homegrown flavors are now available in your supermarket’s frozen food section.
An Authentic Central American Taste Sensation in American Kitchens
From Salvadorian Cynthia Duran and her family-owned Xinca Foods company comes a range of genuinely Central American frozen pupusa. Xinca’s delicious products rely on authentic, high-quality ingredients. These include loroco, curtido, red bell pepper, lentils, and chipilín – a Central American leafy-spinach-like herb with a flavorful citrusy taste and aroma.
The customary refried beans are added – prepared without lard to provide a healthier alternative to traditional options. The pupusas are then flash-frozen to preserve texture, nutrients, and flavor.
An Eclectic Experience That’s Here to Stay
It’s no wonder that Xinca’s exotic products and flavor profiles are in demand. Flavorchem’s 2023 Flavor & Trend Forecast reports that Latin American ingredients “are hot” and shifting “to the spotlight as consumers show greater interest in culinary exploration and flavor origin.”1 Moreover, the global ethnic food market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 10.33% to reach $98.06 billion by 20282.
So, for food and beverage producers and manufacturers, now is the time to embrace these enticing and exciting Guanaco taste adventures. However, do it with Xinca-like style – only use the purest savory flavor and aroma ingredients.
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