History of National Pupusa Day
Pupusas have a long and debated history. As of this day, both Honduras and El Salvador claim to be be the birth place of this delicious treat (although it’s more accepted as being El Salvador), with evidence showing that humans have been making pupusas at least 2000 years ago, if not longer.
It actually wasn’t until 1570 when meat was incorporated into pupusas, making that development relatively recent in its history. Before that squash blossoms, mushrooms, and other hardy veggies provided the fillings.
From there, pupusas were predominantly regional, and it wasn’t until the 1980s during the El Salvadoran civil war when a large population migrated to the United States that pupusas found their way up north. Even then, they were by and large a neighborhood treat until 2011 when the Guardian dubbed pupusas the best street food of in New York – an important distinction for a city that’s constantly on the go.
From there, pupusas gained the international claim they now enjoy today.
National Pupusa Day timeline
The world’s biggest pupusa measuring 33 feet wide and weighing about 200 pounds surpassed the world record at a fair held in a San Salvador park.
The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador declared pupusas the national dish of El Salvador. Celebrations are held on National Pupusa Day, of course!
If you lived in pre-Columbian El Salvador, you would have recognized pupusas because of their similarity to our modern version with one exception; early pupusas were shaped like half moons and filled with vegetables by the inventive Pipil tribes of western El Salvador.
National Pupusa Day FAQs
Are pupusas eaten on a special day?
Pupusas can be eaten whenever you want, in fact the presence of pupusa makes it a special day in itself.
What does Pupusa mean?
What do you eat with pupusas?
National Pupusa Day Activities
Have a pupusa eating contest
Who can eat the most pupusas in your neighborhood? National Pupusa Day is the day to find out. Put together a block party with your neighbors. Eating contests are widespread in El Salvador. Not only do they celebrate this beautiful gastronomic tour de force, but the government actually encourages citizens to make and eat pupusas as a way to help boost the culinary and agricultural industries.
Make some pupusas, of course
If you consider yourself a culinary whiz, think of National Pupusa Day as a challenge. Find out how creative you really are by making up a batch of pupusas and putting your own individual stamp on each one (not literally a stamp, but you know what we mean). The great thing about making pupusas is that vegetarians can play too. Pupusas lend themselves to vegetarian diets in a variety of ways.
Go to an authentic El Salvadoran restaurant
On National Pupusa Day, your local El Salvadoran restaurant is bound to be poppin'! You can learn so much about a culture just by eating the food. If there's no authentic El Salvadoran eatery in your city or town, just head out for some Latin American food. Be a tourist and spend time with people who are different from yourself. You might be surprised at what you can learn — mainly that we are all the same!
4 Reasons Why Pupusas Should Be Your New Favorite Food
In El Salvador, the typical pupusa only costs about a quarter but you can stay full for hours.
They're a great fundraising idea
A Washington D.C.-based restaurant once used proceeds from National Pupusa Day to help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
They're made mostly by women
Seems like women have the upper hand when it comes to making pupusas since thousands of women cook up pupusas for a living.
They can hold unusual fillings
Although there are traditional pupusa fillings made from rice, beans, shrimp, and cheese — you can also cook up unusual ideas like pupusas filled with duck comfit; or breakfast pupusas with scrambled eggs and sausage; or even dulce pupusas stuffed with bananas or plantains; and for a quick snack, bacon with sauteed jalapeno peppers and pepper jack cheese. Are you hungry yet?
Why We Love National Pupusa Day
It's El Salvador's national dish
El Salvador is a small country in southwestern Central America bordering Honduras and Guatemala. As with so many Latin American countries, El Salvador was conquered by Spain in 1525. Finally in 1821, the country liberated itself, and this history is infused with the love of pupusas, the national dish, on National Pupusa Day.
It's a day filled with delicious stuffings
All pupusas are basically made the same way — with a thick corn flatbread reminiscent of a tortilla and stuffed with the filling of your choice. If you want to stay traditional, your filling will be cheese, meat, fish, beans, or veggies. Serve up a side portion of curtido, a spicy cabbage relish similar to a tangy coleslaw or sauerkraut. Get creative with your pupusas and stuff them with shrimp, squash, almost anything.
It's enjoyed in other countries, too
Prior to the 1960s, pupusas were mainly eaten in El Salvador. But as people began to migrate out of the country due to political violence or crime, pupusas started popping up in Latin American restaurants around the world. For example, you can chow down on pupusas in three Australian cities including Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney. In the U.S. there are variations of pupusa stuffings made with spinach, pepperoni, and green chili peppers served up in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
National Pupusa Day dates