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Orange County Salvadoran food?

pandaeats Sep 1, 2009 04:55 PM

I'm looking for a great Salvadoran place in the OC for tamales and pupusa...I know there's lots in LA, but it'd be nice to find one close to home.


  1. Professor Salt Sep 1, 2009 06:31 PM

    Where is "home?"

    The best is in Costa Mesa, Pupuseria San Sivar. The masa here is thin - which indicates to me a higher level of skill on the cook's part. Besides corn masa, you can also get a rice flour pupusa. The rice cooks up crisper, and it's a nice variation.

    For South County, I'd send you to El Paraiso in Lake Forest. Not as good as San Sivar, but ok for that part of the county.

    There are other places I know in Tustin and Santa Ana, but I tend not to go as much to those. Just not as flavorful, or perhaps more cludgy in execution

    Tamales? Haven't tried them at either place, but then, I don't usually get tamales at someplace that's not a tamal-only specialist.

    El Paraiso (Chow Places couldn't find it)
    25252 Jeronimo Rd. #B
    Lake Forest CA 92630
    949 770 2775

    6 Replies
    1. re: Professor Salt
      pandaeats Sep 1, 2009 06:44 PM

      I do live in Tustin, but I'm willing to traverse the OC. Thanks so much for the tip! Will check out both.

      1. re: Professor Salt
        cdmedici Sep 1, 2009 07:21 PM

        Right up the street and a right on 19th street is a restaurant called El Chinaco. They also sell El Salvadorian food. I like the pupusas at San Sivar better though.

        1. re: cdmedici
          Professor Salt Sep 1, 2009 07:31 PM

          I agree with you as usual, cdmedici. If pandaeats is making the trip, it would be worth it to try both places.


          1. re: Professor Salt
            groover808 Sep 1, 2009 08:22 PM

            Agreed, try both San Sivar and El Chinaco. I've heard some traditionally Mexican places try to do makeshift pupusas since they have masa, but I would stick to El Salvadorean restaurants.

            1. re: Professor Salt
              cdmedici Sep 2, 2009 05:11 PM

              Thanks for the props Professor. One thing that El Chinaco has going for it is a much better ambiance. San Sivar is like eating at the DMV. I usually get it to go.

              1. re: cdmedici
                Professor Salt Sep 2, 2009 11:42 PM

                Fair enough, although we're comparing a dark hole in the wall to a formica clad, fluorescent and neon lighted hole in the wall. : )

                I should point out the short life of the crispy outer shell of a properly griddled pupusa. That crispiness holds up maybe two minutes after it's cooked. Put it in a styro takout box and it steams away in seconds.

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