To me, the only thing better than trying a new, much talked about restaurant is trying one that serves ethnic food I’ve never had before. The anticipation of what the dishes would taste like and sharing the moment with someone is always an exhilarating experience. It’s an adventure that doesn’t involve travel to a foreign land, since in most cities you don’t have to venture far to try new cuisine. Good food, good laughs and good company—do we really need anything more?
One of my favorite stories to share about my adventures in ethnic food dining is the first few times my sister and I tried Pho. I say the first few times, because we would come back to the same hole in the wall in Philly’s Chinatown and order the same soup (number 10) only to have a different Pho variety appear in front of us, each time. It took us months to figure out that number 10 was the soup of the day.
So when my friend was hosting her monthly comedy show at a bar next door to an Salvadoran restaurant, I couldn’t think of a better date night than trying some delicious and unfamiliar foods and laughing our butts off. Is there anything better than laughing at the end of a stressful week? Even science says no.
One study found that just anticipating laughter can lower levels of stress hormones, while another study suggested that laughing produces natural painkillers that may relieve pain. Laughs are good for the soul and the body.
I had Salvadorian food once before, but only tried one item so I’m not really counting that. If you’re going to try just one thing though, make it a pupusa.
Weird to say, but delicious to eat. A pupusa is a handmade soft corn tortilla stuffed with pork, cheese, or beans. It’s usually served with Salvadorian style pickled cabbage, (which incidentally tastes exactly like Russian-style pickled cabbage, but spicy), and crema.
We also ordered a Tipico Mixto, sampler appetizer. It came with yuca, plantain chips and fried, sweet plantains. So good. The platter also had empanadas, but they were not the typical meat stuffed pastry. These tasted more like a dessert. The traditional Salvadorian empanadas are made with fried sweet plantains which are rolled in sugar, stuffed with a creamy custard that tastes like coconut pudding, and then deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Not the healthiest option, but so, so yummy.
Speaking of not healthy, I was on a hunt for a real adventure so I ordered a Cola Champagne, one of the most popular Salvadoran sodas, (according to the menu). The champagne part is probably what convinced me. It tasted like a mix between orange cream soda and sugar. I think it probably was just carbonated sugar water with orange food coloring. I rationalized that all the sugar helped keep me awake despite all the carbs, for the comedy show.
I didn’t do a good job at being a photographer on this date, especially when it came to the comedy show part. But, I swear we had a great time and laughed a lot.
This weekend, make sure to fit in some laughter and maybe try a new cuisine, it just may become your favorite food or at least it will make for a good story.