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Jan 26, 2009 10:35 AM

Balompie Cafe - first time report

I've been wanting to try a good pupusa since my first taste of one at a street fest last year. The one I had at the street fest was decent, but sorta greasy.

I arrived at Balompie around 5pm on Saturday. The place was humming and nearly full, but I managed to snag a small table for myself up front. Ordered a housemade Pineapple juice and three pupusas: bean & cheese, chicharron & cheese, and chorizo & cheese. The bean and chicharron one were 2 for $5 or so I believe. The chorizo one was listed under the special pupusas category and cost more at $3.50.

I waited patiently and finally my server brought out three small dishes with pickled cabbage, pickled veggies and hot sauce. Next arrived my plate of three pupusas. They looked amazing, sorta like thick pancakes, with some nice golden brown spots on em. All three were delicious, but my favorite was definitely the chorizo & cheese. Second favorite was the chicharron & cheese. I definitely could have just eaten two of these, but I wanted to try a few, so I stuffed myself.

The pickled veggies were tastey, but could possibly use a bit more zip. The hot sauce was good, yet unimpressive, but it didn't matter as the pupusas were delicious enough on their own.

Now I'm wondering where I should get my next pupusa fix from...

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  1. Maybe you should try El Zocalo on Mission St. (near 30th) and La Santaneca on Mission above Cortland next. At La Santaneca I'd recommend their rice-flour based pupusas and you must try the Salvadorean horchata if you haven't tried it yet.

    1. Which Balompie did you go to- the original on 18th and Capp?

      I've been curious about the new one on Mission near Holly Park (just north of Murray).

      I prefer their pupusas to El Zocalo's (on Mission and Valencia, haven't tried South SF), although as noted, Balompie's pickles aren't the best.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Windy

        I've been to the one on Mission twice. Very, very good pupusas. Better than El Zocalo or Santaneca (and I like both those places). Second time there I had chicken soup, which wasn't bad, but was pretty unmemorable. BTW the staff was really nice, which made for a very pleasent experience both times.

        1. re: Calvinist

          Excellent, thanks. Now I have no excuse.

          The soup I like best at the original is the mondongo, which has vegetables, tripe, and a corn cob.

        2. re: Windy

          Went to the original on 18th & Capp.

        3. I want to try the pupusas at panchito no 3 because they have less usual types such as shrimp, chicken, fish and red chili.

          With a pupusa, it's like a grilled cheese sandwich, the less time from grill to plate, the better. La Palma has had good reviews in the past but the trick there is to make sure they make it to order and are not just reheating pupusas they pre-make.

          When I did a pupusa crawl in Sf a few years ago, I liked Rincon Latino the best.

          Were all the pupusas corn, or did you get a rice pupusa as well?

          Central American food doesn't seem to have as much zing as Mexican. The cabbage (curtido) is supposed to top the pupusa. Sometimes though the pupusa is so good I hate to bury it under cabbage.

          FWIW, my old SF pupusa crawl. IMO, the pupusas in the East Bay are better.

          Balompie Cafe
          3349 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110