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Jan 10, 2008 12:35 PM

Jumbo Empanada v El Gordo

After hearing about most people's love for Jumbo Empanada I decided to check it out today. I had the Beef Empanada and didn't love it. My main issue were the raisins and hard boiled eggs which I didn't realize would be inside (I have long hate relationship with raisins). The meat itself was fine and the dough was lovely but I had a hard time with raisins and egg. And I LOVED the salsa.

I cut my empanada teeth in NYC at Empanada Mama ( ... I'm not sure what country they're from and if it's a different one than JE but I like their Empanada's much better. There's a choice between a corn flour or wheat flour and they are much smaller and portable.

I rarely see anything on here about El Gordo across the street. Does anyone like them better than JE? Are the empanadas similar (size, dough etc) What are your favourite El Gordo Empanadas?

Thanks in advance!



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  1. Just FYI that the chicken empanada at Jumbo doesn't have any raisins, but it still contains the eggs so not sure that will really change your mind about disliking the empanadas there.

    My experience with El Gordo is that they don't use enough filling. The empanadas themselves are smaller (maybe 1/2 the size of Jumbo's) and they have a lot more variety of fillings (spinach and cheese, chorizo and cheese, etc.). Their dough is much softer than Jumbo's but about equally thin -- it's just a different texture. Overall, I prefer Jumbo's by far, but you may want to check out El Gordo to see if their product is more like the product you "cut your teeth on" in NYC since I don't have experience at the place you mention so I can't really do a comparison.

    1. a friend of mine is argentinian and a great cook and she introduced me to el gordo so i have always assumed it's better than jumbo. my absolute favourite there is the beef (or chicken) with salsa verde. it's amazing. but that said, they almost NEVER have it in stock (guess that's what happens when there's so many different kinds) and the last time i got one (maybe 6 months or so ago) the salsa was not as good as usual...maybe it was bad luck or maybe they have changed the recipe. but i always stop by when i'm in kensington market (even if i just stuffed myself on dim sum!)

      5 Replies
      1. re: lolabella

        They are both fine. El gordo definately wins for variety. At jumbo stick to the meats, the veggie empenada is very bland. I had a sausgae and cheese empenada from el gordos that I recall being quite good.
        The real winners at jumbo empenada - the salsa, the cheese empenada (1.50, eat it when hot) and the hummitas (delicious mixture of corn, basil and onions, all steamed in a corn husk - soooooooo tasty and healthy).

        1. re: pancake

          can someone describe empenada? always wanted to try one.

          is it more like a burrito or a calzone? thx.

          1. re: caitlink

            more like a calzone. :)

            i like the dough of jumbo's better than el gordo's, but el gordo's meat fillings beat jumbo's, which tend to be too sweet for me everytime.

            i actually enjoy the veggie empanada's from jumbo, though. but i have to agree with pancake about the salsa and the cheese empanada being the winners from there. and when they're freshly made, the sopapillas!

            1. re: hautecocoa

              el gordo has a really nice variety of fillings, but i think jumbo is faaaar superior.
              they have a better pastry crust which is light and crunchy, and i thin their beef filling has muchmore flavour than anyone i've had at el gordo. i personally am a huge fan of the raisins and egg.. it was a surprise to me too, but a deeelightful one. also,delicious salsa, but they never give you enough!

              1. re: jayseeca

                I went to El Gordo a few days ago and had the chorizo and cheese empanada and really enjoyed it. I did like the pastry and Jumbo better (El Gordos was a tad soggy) but as you all know wasn't a fan of the beef filling at all. Next time I'd probably go to El Gordo just because of the variety that JE lacks.

      2. I had a really good empanada at Sky Ranch but I can't remember if it had raisins or eggs in it in case you're still searching.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fickle

          I can confirm that the empanadas we had last weekend at Sky Ranch were both raisin and egg free!

        2. what about the corn pie? eaten with the insanely good salsa it is awesome!!!
          it does have eggs in it but they get creamy with cooking

          1 Reply
          1. re: redroses

            Since we're discussing all things Jumbo Empanada and El Gordo, I have to put in a plug for Jumbo's Chilean salad, which I would argue is the best green salad in the city.

          2. El Gordo is so much better! There are so many filling choices, with so much more flavor, and they are much less greasy than Jumbo. My latest fave is the burrito empanada #35 (chorizo, beans, cheese, tomato sauce). Any of their salsa verde empanadas are great, and I know that their kimchi empanadas are much-coveted by kimchi lovers.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sherbetkennal

              I would have to go El Gordo on this one. I go for chicken curry, chorizo and cheese and once had one with spinach and some kind of cheese, can't remember what type. The first time I went to Jumbo I didn't realise they used eggs, it wasn't on the menu board, and I'm allergic. My husband had to eat it. I find Jumbo's empanadas are a bit too big for me.