Pupusa (from the pipil pupusawa) is the Spanishized pronunciation of popotlax, a conjugation of the words in the Nahuatl language; popotl which means big, stuffed, bulky, and of tlaxkalli or omelette. It is a thick, hand-made corn tortilla (made using corn dough, a dough made from cornmeal used in American cuisine that is filled with one or more of the following ingredients: cheese (usually a fresh cheese very common in certain countries American called quesillo), chicharrón, ayote, refried beans or cheese with loroco.There is also the pupusa scrambled with mixed ingredients, such as cheese , beans, chicharrón or bacon.


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  • 1 Origin
  • 2 History
  • 3 Preparation
  • 4 Ingredients
    • 1 Preparation
  • 5 Social and nutritional value
  • 6 Source


Nahuat was the language of the Pipiles, a pre-Columbian settlement in the central and western part of El Salvador known as the Señorío de Cuzcatlán.

Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, was one of the religious who came to America; in one of his texts in 1570, he tells about the existence of a cooked dough meal, which was mixed with meat and beans. On the other hand, a publication by the National Museum of Anthropology Dr. David J. Guzmán affirms that pupusas were a fundamental part of the diet of pre-Columbian settlements in Ahuachapán, presumably Quiche who had migrated from Guatemala. At the beginning of the 19th century, Santiago I. Barberena on page 231 of his book “Quicheismo de folclore americano”


Pupusas are the most widespread typical food in El Salvador, probably due to the tradition instituted from generation to generation. Despite the fact that its origin is not known with certainty, anthropological studies indicate that it was born in Central American territories, especially in western El Salvador.

  • In the framework of the CAFTA negotiation, Honduran claims regarding the geographical origin of the pupusas came to light, since in that country it is also a privileged dish, although not as popular.
  • The origin of the conflict that covered more public opinion than the government, was the negotiation of products of origin; If El Salvador patented the pupusas, it would be the only country that could export said product free of tariffs to the United States, which would give it a competitive advantage over the rest of the countries contracting the agreement. Ultimately, Honduras declared that it would have no problem if El Salvador patented the pupusas and benefited from such action; Despite the above, pupusas were outside the special regime in CAFTA and they are treated like any other product.


The preparation of this food involves various steps and the use of various ingredients, which also constitute an economic contribution for producers. There are controversies that have taken an international character about the origin and rights over them; however, these controversies have not had consequences.


The ingredients vary according to the pupusa that is prepared. There are two types of dough, corn and rice. Having chosen what the dough will be, the filling can usually be cheese, beans, pork rinds, revolts (cheese, beans and pork rinds), loroco, chipilín, spinach, ayote, chicken, meat, mushrooms and / or fish.6 However , other types of fillers can be applied.


Each pupusa is made up of two tablespoons of dough and one tablespoon of filling. Its preparation can be done in two ways:

Recommended for inexperienced people: take a tablespoon of dough and crush it with any flat object so that a circular cloth about 5 mm thick remains. It is covered with the filling paste, taking care not to fill the edges; then put on another lid made in the same way and carefully seal the edge.

The recommended for people with experience: Make a ball with two tablespoons of dough. A hole is made with the fingers in the center of the ball, where the filling is inserted. The hole is closed and the ball is patted as if it were clapping, taking care to give the pupusa a circular shape. In both methods, special care must be taken so that the shape is circular, that the filling is well distributed, that the layer of dough is not too thick and that there are no holes through which the filling can spill.

Social and nutritional value

Each pupusa has an approximate nutritional value of 350 calories, so a couple of them make up meal time for the average person. In this sense, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) considers it an essential part of the Salvadoran basic diet, being an adequate means of food due to its low cost. In 2004, within the framework of the “International Year of Rice”, pupusas were recognized worldwide as a popular food.

On the other hand, considering that El Salvador is one of the Latin American countries that contributes the most immigrants to the United States, it is logical to find pupusas outside national borders. Immigrants take the dish as part of the effort to keep the culture even outside the country, so they continue preparing and consuming pupusas.


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