Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Oct 7, 2006 05:31 PM


After spending a considerable time in Central America, I have developed a strong love for the Salvadorian miracle, the flor de loroco Pupusa. I am spending the next week or so in SF and was wondering if someone could give me the BEST pupuseria in the area. Pupusas and curtido, worth the trouble...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The best curtido I've had is at La Santaneca, 2815 Mission near 24th St. I always ask for extra when ordering as their standard portion's only about half as much as I want.

    There's another branch in the outer Mission but I've never been there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      La Santaneca is my favorite, especially because they have pupusas made with rice flour and the best horchata. The second location is on Mission Street past Cortland (about 2-3 blocks south of Cortland). That's the one I usually go to.

    2. Wow, that's close. Who knew I was only just around the corner from wonderful. Thanks.

      1. I don't know if they get fresh loroco. Balompie reportedly does:

        1. I hope you'll report back about what you try in SF and how it compares to El Salvador.

          Oddly enough, the only place I've tried to date where the loroco pupusa has any loroco taste is Montelimar Restaurant on Mission Street.

          At the time, I just thought the taste was off. Then I had a loroco pupusa at probably one of the best Salvadoran restaurants in the Bay Area, and there was that taste again (sorry, this place is in the East Bay in a remote location ... but if you need a lizard meat fix ...


          Balompie is often cited as one of the better pupusa places in SF. There is a link about my visit to Balompie in the above link.

          The best pupusa/curtido I've had in SF has been at Rincon Latino

          My visit

          I've since found out that some Mexican market sell Salvadoran cheese with the loroco in it. Maybe why that's why the flavor of loroco doesn't come through often.

          6 Replies
          1. re: rworange

            Is the lizard you're talking about iguana? I just remember Tony Bourdain, who will try just about anything once, thought that iguana was about the worst thing he'd ever put in his mouth. Or maybe it was just a really bad preparation?

            1. re: Atomica

              yep ... maybe not all iguana is the same

              1. re: rworange

                You've got to get the free range organic, kosher, montessori schooled stuff, those farm raised ones just don't have the same flavor.

                BTW, Central Market on Appian carries the cheese with Loroco in it.

                1. re: rworange

                  I also thought the iguana at Tazumal tasted like chicken! I would like to see this iguana that they use with my own eyes to make sure I'm not just getting canned shredded chicken.

                  1. re: coolbean98

                    Well, that's encouraging ... sort of ... that it really, really tastes like chicken. This just cracked me up though ... show me the iguana, por favor.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Once I've confirmed it's really iguana, I'll be faced with a different problem...still wanting to eat it after having "met" it! Aye!

            2. They sell lizard here?! I had to pass on the lizard because they were being dangerously over-hunted but would jump at the opportunity if it arose. Locals called it chicken of the trees. Have you tried it? I'm curious.

              I did have a Loroco pupusa around the corner on Mission and I too found that more than anything it tasted like green chile. Still, I can't complain. A mediocre pupusa beats no pupusa!

              1 Reply
              1. re: zameloy

                It's the Bay Area ... it's organic ranch-raised lizard. I'm such a wuzzie and haven't tried it. However, here's an post with a link to an East Bay Express article where the reporter tried it and, uh, it tasted like chicken.

                Actually people started eating them because it was effective pest control. Then they liked them so much, the lizard started to go extinct. So they saved the day with lizard farms ... ok, I'll stop being lazy and use the right word ... garrobo.

                You can find it canned in some markets selling Salvadoran foods. Of course, requests for canned lizard recipes should go on Home Cooking.