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(Covid Update Dec 2021 – in business) Do you like pupusas? A pupusa is a stuffed tortilla, prepared fresh on a grill. Originating in El Salvador and Honduras, pupusas are now served universally throughout Central America.
My first pupusa came from a Trenton Guatemalan restaurant over a decade ago. It was heavy and greasy, and yet I loved it. Looking back, a pupusa is kind of like a hamburger… there’s a huge difference between a good one and bad one, but as US fast food restaurants have demonstrated for years, even bad ones are pretty good.
Then, about 7 years ago, I discovered authentic El Salvadoran pupusas at Mauceri’s. Theirs were light and tender with just a whisper of oil (btw, we sampled Mauceri’s recently and it’s still going strong). Utterly fabulous.
La Benedicion now competes with Mauceri’s for the best Pupusa in town. It opened in late 2019 and delivers superb pupusas in the authentic Salvadoran style. Lightly oiled, perfectly grilled. Served with the traditional, home-made curtido (a pickled salad made from cabbage, onions, chopped up jalapenos, and cilantro), and salsa roja (mildly spiced, tomato based sauce).
La Bendicion has the widest selection of pupusas in town, with 20 different varieties, including:
- queso y loroco (cheese and a green tree flower, similar in flavor to broccoli)
- frijol (beans)
- frijol con queso (beans and cheese)
- camaron (shrimp)
- pescado (fish)
- pollo con queso (chicken with cheese)
- and a dozen more varieties or combinations
In January, 2020, most pupusas are priced at $3 each, though a few cost $5 (e.g. shrimp). Two pupusas will suffice as a large lunch for all but the heartiest eaters. Bendicion serves the curtido and salsa roja in massive pitchers, so you can add as much as you like. Yum!!
A caveat. Bendicion is a truly authentic restaurant serving an overwhelmingly central American clientele. When I’ve visited, my waitress spoke no English, and the menu offers very few English translations. If you’re unsure of your menu-Spanish, you may want to study the menu (which is posted on the website homepage) with Google translate at your side, and decide on your order ahead of time.
Thrillingly, this part of Trenton is starting to seem like Little El Salvador, boasting two superb Pupuserias within 100 feet of each other (Mauceri’s and Bendicion). Which is better? I’m not going to say. If you love pupusas as much as I do, I suggest you check them both out and decide for yourself.