Sunday, April 4, 2010
Jaragua: Great Pupusas, Curtido and Fried Yucca
Another great value joint is Jaragua, a no-frills Salvadoran restaurant in Koreatown with great service and even better food. Granted, it's hard not to like an appetizer sampler that includes beautifully golden fried plaintains, a soft and plumb fried empanada, freshly fried thin plaintain chips and yucca fried to perfection topped with curtido, a spicy and crunchy slaw made out of cabbage, onions and carrots.
This could feed at least three people. Throw in a pupusa or two, which are wonderful corn pancakes stuffed with super stringy cheese, beans or other goodies, and you've got a hearty meal, if not necessarily a healthy one.
The curtido slaw is a great refreshing accompaniment to the pupusas that balances out the slight heaviness from the cheese. I personally can't get enough of curtido.
Check out the cheese oozing out of the pupusa to the left. That's the beauty of a fresh-off-the-griddle pupusa that must be consumed quickly or risk battling with stringy cheese that tastes rubbery and congealed.
I have to admit, I couldn't finish a pupusa in one sitting because I find the cheese too heavy, even with a heap of slaw at every bite. But not to worry. It tastes pretty good when you either microwave or heat it up in a toaster oven at home.
Jaragua also serves tamales, but I wasn't crazy about them. They were too doughy for my taste. I usually like the ones wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn husks like the Mexican ones because they usually have less corn masa and I've always liked the addition of the olive.
The service is excellent and I wouldn't hesitate to return for more. Fried yucca! Fried plaintains! Fried empanadas! I can't help myself.