Day 7 of the 30 day ethnic food challenge relocates to El Salvador. During the civil war there in the 1980s a great migration of Pupusa makers and eaters came to the US and Boston. Among that community, Mi Pueblito sprung up on Border Street in Eastie. Inside, Centroamérica soccer games play on big flat screens and a digital latin jukebox with very good speakers provides the soundtrack in the social, bright and tidy room. Heavy wooden tables easily come together to make more space. Service is friendly and attentive. The hungry come here for the pupusas, thick handmade tortillas filled with very good things. Some have likened it to a sort’ve way south of the border grilled cheese sandwich. First, a palate cleanser of marañón (cashew apple) juices are sweet and bright. The refreshing fruit reminds the tongue of mango and a shade of grapefruit.
Mi Pueblito has been around for 21 years and current owner Ferdy is from Guatamala and has relatives in San Salvador. Two kinds of pupusas happen here. The first of Nixtamal, corn that’s been thru an alkaline process. The other pupusa in town is made from rice and the owner Ferdy explains that it hails from Olocuilta in the east of El Salvador and that Revueltas (ground pork, beans, cheese) is very popular but the soft white quesillo (cheese)pupusa with loroco buds is typically Salvadoran. Reminiscent of large unpickled capers with stems attached these vine flower buds taste like tiny aromatic artichokes with nutty notes. Ferdy attests that the Loroco can be bought at Market Basket. Along with one corn/maiz and one rice/arroz comes curtido (lightly fermented cabbage slaw with red chilies and vinegar) and a watery tomato salsa. The thick and perfectly cooked pupusas are hot and rich revealing their contents in melting cheesy corny porky satistfaction. Dipping in the thin salsa and crunchy spiked slaw the green note of the loroco buds shine thru each bite of the pupusa which is very hard to eat without smiling.
Travelers know that the process of brewing and making soda makes them safe to drink and local beers are ofttimes fresh with unique qualities. Such is the case with Suprema visiting us here from San Salvador. A crisp pale golden lager beer this cerveza is served in a super chilled mug coaxing an icy head. The thin cold brew with some floral hints is industrial. Not bitter, cold and wet since 1967, Suprema is perfect pairing for pupusas.
Desserts (posteres) are unusual and delectable ways to close out the ticket at Mi Pueblito. Nuegados con chilate are sweetened fried yucca and cinnamon-spiked, syrup-steeped plantains with a hot mug of corn atole and sugarcane syrup on the side. The sticky ichor sweetens both the fried delights and masa corn porridge.
However long your trip to Mi Pueblito is you will feel you’ve escaped to another place and a different pace where hospitality is alive and well. Buen Provecho!
Mi Pueblito 333 Border St, East Boston, 617-569-3787 Hours 8am-11pm 7 days a week