I sooo wanted to like it. The ultimate little hole in the wall. The Bay Guardian listed it as the most authentic Salvadorian food in the Bay Area (didnt see for what year). There is also a restaurant of the same name in Hayward. I am wondering if the owner is confused and the BG was referring to the Hayward place. This place is located on 12 Persia near Mission.
On the outside it has the look of the type of place that would give you food poisoning. Inside there are three tiny tables with folding chairs. The tables are covered with colorful Salvadorian table cloths. There are more tables upstairs. There is the constant pat, pat, pat of pupusas being prepared. Standard décor of Salvadorian money on the walls and pictures of soccer players.
After my pupusa crawl, I can identify typical Salvadorian dishes
- Fried bananas with crema and beans
- Yuca Con Chicarron
- The Salvadorian version of tamales
- Salpicon (still not sure what this is)
- Empanadas de leche (gotta try those one of these times. Sounds good)
This place has a few unique dishes not found in my search so far
- Chilate identified as a Salvadorian specialty with banana jelly and bread jelly
- Relleno de Pacaya (dont have a clue)
- Carne Guisada boiled meat
- Atol Shuco
I go for the atoll shuco (dirty atol) a purple corn atoll. Served in a dried melon half or gourd, it is taro colored with a yellow corn swirl on top. There are black beans in the bottom. It has the sourish taste of sorrel. I like it. A promising start.
Recently hooked on pastels, these are leaden. A thick corn exterior wrapped around a ground beef interior and deep fried. If this had been my first taste of pastels, I never would order them again.
The orchata tastes like brown rice water, kind of unpleasant. The tamarindo has a nice tang though.
Also the unique to this place are rice as well as corn pupusas. The rice version has a crisper exterior. The corn pupusa is ok. Fillings are fair. The red salsa is good.
The problem is the curtido or slaw. Wilted and with another problem.
Let me preface this. Ive had hygiene slips at the best places. At the Oakland Market, I saw the RoliRoti guy standing behind the truck picking at a facial area that made me pass on the chicken that day. It happens critters and unidentified objects in the food at some really, really good places. So as I dig into the curtido a second time, a long black hair like object is uncovered. Too short and stiff for human, too long for known critters.
Im still at a loss, however it puts me off the curtido and returning.
Does anyone know anything about atol Shuco? Is it really purple colored corn that is ground up?