In the Annandale Shopping Center
Now Open in the Annandale Shopping Center is a much desired new dining experience known as Pupusas Express. (7042 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003) Delicious, spotlessly clean and friendly, this eatery will delight the young and the young at heart. The menu reflects the traditional Salvadoran dishes offered at affordable prices certain to please every budget.
Known for their warm hospitality and exceptionally quick and courteous service, they have now expanded to four locations. If you are unfamiliar with Salvadoran cuisine, the staff will be happy to discuss ingredients and walk you through the menu offerings.
The traditional Salvadoran foods are a mix of Native American cuisines from indigenous groups and influences from European (Spanish) cuisine. Many of the dishes are made with maize (corn) in one form or another. There is also a heavy use of pork, chicken, and seafood.
El Salvador's most notable dish is the pupusa, a thick handmade corn flour or rice flour flatbread stuffed with cheese, cooked ground pork, chicken, refried beans, or vegetables. Since most are only $2.40 each, you can afford to try a few combinations. Condiments accompanying the pupusas are pickled-cabbage (a cole slaw known as curitido) and tomato sauce.
A favorite Salvadoran specialty is pupusa stuffed with cheese and the loroco flower. Fernaldia pandurate is a vine with edible flowers known as loroco flowers grown throughout Mexico and Central America and is an important source of food in El Salvador and Guatemala. The plant's buds and flowers are used for cooking in a variety of ways, including in pupusas. At Pupusas Express a special pupusa is stuffed with cheese and the loroco flower.
Other well-known Salvadoran dishes include carne guisada (a saucy beef stew with potatoes and carrots), carne asada (grilled steak), Camarones a la Crema (Sauteed shrimp mixed with onions, green peppers and cream), Ceviche de Camaron (lime cooked shrimp), various Tacos, Quesadillas, and Fajitas.
SOUP-SOUP, YOU MUST TRY THE SOUP
Don’t overlook their four soup offerings as they are of special note. The servings constitute a generous meal with fresh proteins and vegetables. Two use a beef base but it is the chicken and seafood that will tantalize your taste buds demanding a return visit. Their chicken soup is made with well seasoned grilled chicken, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and chayote (squash). The broth is not simply chicken broth but it is infused with the heavenly flavor of grilled chicken, an unexpected yet pleasing surprise.
The Sopa de Marisco is an especially sensational seafood soup with tilapia, crab, shrimp, clams and vegetables. Again the broth has been prepared over many hours with various ingredients going into and out of the pot at precisely the right intervals. This soup is a skilled undertaking mastered at Pupusas Express by a proficient chef. Presentation reveals a soft shell crab, large shrimps, tilapia, and a massive clam just peeking from beneath the surface.
Don’t leave without sampling one of these soups...you can even share with your table mate as the small bowl is ample appetizer for two. If you fondly remember your grandmother’s carefully prepared soups, treat yourself at Pupusas Express, you may just enjoy their soup more.
SALVADORAN FRUIT DRINKS AND FLAN
If you are submersing yourself in the Salvadoran cuisine, give one of the typical Salvadoran drinks a try. Most are fruit juice in base, Tamarind the stand out favorite, along with Ensalada de Frutas, a mango-orange juice base topped with a variety of chopped fresh fruits and sliced grapes. The drinks are not just delicious; they are beautiful and refreshing!
If you are totally unadventurous, don’t worry; there is a long list of American dishes for you. Delicious hamburgers, steak and cheese subs, chicken nuggets, Chicken Wings, Nachos with various toppings, tossed salads, and French fries are also available.
Pupusas Express will be open Monday through Saturdays 11 am to 10 pm. They are closed on Sundays. Free delivery is available (with their own drivers) within a four mile radius for a $12.00 minimum purchase. This is a new cuisine to Annandale, and one that is most welcome!
In the Annandale Shopping Center on Columbia Pike at Gallows Road
7042 Columbia Pike
Annandale, VA 22003
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