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Dec 30, 2007 10:42 AM

[Wichita] Usuluteco: Nice Salvadoran food

Having been in Wichita less than a year, i've yet to uncover all the interesting places for real "chowhound" chow. I have leads on a new Mexican place and hope to try it tomorrow. In the meantime, since decent Mexican is limited to a very few places here, it's nice to have a few south of the border alternatives. Usuluteco (1714 E Northern St, at Hydraulic) is just such a place. Though the menu is fairly sparse, the food is good, honest Salvadoran food served at very reasonable prices. The food stays "authentic" because most of the clientele is SalvadoreƱo, with soccer games often blasting from the big screen tv. Funny note: they carry 3 or 4 Salvadoran beers, but on my last visit, all the beer on all the tables was domestic swill, Bud Light, Bud and so on. Probably a price issue, but a good social anthropologist would explain it as an attempt at acculturation, but that's another forum.
Have tried most of the pupusas, the Salvadoran standard snack, i.e., instead of tacos..., more like a gordita stuffed with cheese, beans, shredded pork and so on. All seem to be freshly made to order and, though plainjane on the plate, can be spiced up with a nice picante (ask for the picante) and the ubiquitous garnish of slightly pickled cabbage. Also had the pasteles de carne, like an empanada with beef...nice and crispy, will have again for sure...don't confuse this with the empanada on the menu which is a stuffed plantain...not available this time of year apparently. Also had Chicharron con Yuca, nicely fried pork chunks served with fried yuca (or manioc root), a nice combo, though also plain without the salsa. Finally, they served as one of my sources for Xmas tamales...they have two varieties, each wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn husks--chicken and corn fillings. I bought a dozen chicken for the holidays and they are wonderful...the masa is much lighter than in the usual Mexican tamal, and the filling consists of nice shreds of spicy chicken. Highly recommended.
If you can't find Mexican to suit, try this place. It may not be the most amazing food in the state, but it is a worthy place for the occasional variation from the ordinary. And the owners are super friendly, especially if you try even just a few words or your high school spanish....

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  1. Oooh this makes me very happy. I'll have to try this for sure. I've never had Salvadorian food. I've passed another Salvadorian place during my few forays into Wichita. I *think* it's on Douglas just East of Old Town? Whatever street it's on, the building is very, very blue. There has been a "opening soon" sign in the window the past couple times I've driven by. Maybe it will open and we can compare the two Salvadorian places. Seriously...I'm astounded by the presence of a Salvadorian place. The dishes sound very similar to some Puerto Rican and Dominican dishes I've had. Must be the Carribbean influence.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Antithesisofpop

      I think it's on 1st street. Unfortunately it's been saying coming soon since about summer time.Let's hope it still is.

      1. re: shopgirl26

        This place is open and is better than sambamaster says, I think. It is by far one of the best places in Wichita and one of the only that you can get such good cassava and homemade tamales. The food is homemade.

        Not on 1st St! On Northern St., just off Hydraulic a few blocks south of Pawnee.