Pupusa Etiquette: How to Avoid Committing Salvadoran Crime

Graphic of a fork and knife in jail.

After witnessing a serious crime, I’ve decided that I can’t stay silent any longer… some people on the Luz team have admitted that they eat pupusas with a knife and fork. There’s even video evidence. Now I’m not gonna point any fingers hoping that they’ll read this and reconsider their life choices, before further damage is done. However, this atrocity has led to this moment right here. I’m here today, as a passionate Salvadoran, to either teach or remind everyone of the proper etiquette to eat a pupusa. And if you’re wondering, yes, there’s only one correct way to eat a pupusa, and I will not be accepting any criticism. Thank you.

First, you’ve got to get the Salvadoran goods.

Once you’ve been served as many of these delicacies as your heart desires (3 or 10 nobody’s gonna judge you, (I promise) the next step is the only part of this experience where a fork is acceptable. El curtido y la salsa are usually served in a separate container, so feel free to use a fork to scoop out whichever amount of curtido you want. Proceed to cover el curtido con la salsa.

Now some people like it on top of their pupusas, some a little to the side, some only like one and not the other, others don’t like them at all.
These variations are all completely acceptable.

You eat pupusas with your hands, period.

Now, up next is the important part, that you can not under any circumstance mess up. You use your hands to eat them. That’s it. I don’t care if you have acrylics, don’t like to get your hands dirty (that’s why we have soap and water? ), or don’t like messes (tbh any mess is part of the experience, embrace it.)

No excuse is acceptable. Pupusas are meant to be eaten with your hands. So then, just make little guacalitos (for my non-Salvadoran friends, guacalito is a little bowl) with pupusa pieces to scoop up a good amount of curtido, and salsa to feel all of the flavors at the same time. An exquisite dish.

Putting toppings on a pupusa. El Salvador Pupusas GIF by Whats That Youre Cookin? Giphy

So yeah, now you know how the mechanics work. Let us know how you eat pupusas, and we’ll let you know if you can sit with us.

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