Guatemalan Cuisine: Mayan Pizza or Giant Pupusa

Mayan Pizza or Giant Pupusa

Pupusas is a name inherited from El Salvador to a dish which can be found in the Southeast Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and quite possibly all the countries in Central America under various names. Pupusas are “normally” about the size of CD and are made from a mixture of maize dough, cheese, and whatever ingredient you ask for from a menu. The pupusa here is about three or four times the “normal” size and thus the name: Mayan pizza. It is way over a pound and it has four ingredients and costs about Q20 ($2.50). This is Guatemalan “fast” food, if you know what I mean.

Why maize and not corn? Funny you asked, I was going to tell about a great book with a very short name: 1491. In this book, the author makes a clear distinction between one word and the other. Maize can only mean one thing, while corn is often used as crop in other parts of the world.

Maize is grown in what is called a milpa. The term means “maize field,” but refers to something considerably more complex. A milpa a field, usually but not always recently cleared, in which farmers plant a dozen crops at once, including maize, avocados, multiples varieties of squash and bean, melon, tomatoes, chilies, sweet potato, jicama (a tuber), amaranth (a grain-like plant) and mucuma (a tropical legume)… Milpa crops are nutritionally and environmentally complementary… Milpa is one of the most successful human inventions ever created. [ed. Just a fragment on the chapter about maize).

This book is so good and so bad at the same time. It is a book rich with the latest scientific and historic facts; and that makes it so good. This book has so many truths in it that will shatter everything you think knew about America (the continent); it is almost like regaining conscience. I do not recommend this book if you are very comfortable with what you know now, even though most of is myth. Okay, you are forewarned. 😉

© 2006 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • gracias por la actualización. ¡saludos de las Filipinas!

  • I’m sold! Now, where to get one of those in Long Beach?! YUM!

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  • This is only the beginning of your food posts, yes? I’m in trouble. This one alone has made me salivate!

    wonderful post and equally wonderful picture.

  • Islandboy, thanks for the update y muchas gracias por la visita. Pronto te visitaré.

    Jonathan, actually your request is simple. Remember, I lived in Long Beach and I had pupusas there. They might not have this giant pupusa, but for sure you can taste the normal size. This applies to all the people living in pretty size city the U.S.; you have to look pupusas, pupuseria, Salvadorean restaurants in the Yellow Pages. I did a quick search in Google and see what I found.

    Edwin, yes this is only the beginning and you better hide the scale.

  • sompopo

    I bet that would be good with a cold beer. 🙂

  • luggi

    I had heard about this book, and now you have sold me on it. I’ll have to read it.

  • Yum Yum. Looks good, even for me a vegetarian.

  • i know i’ll love them..yummy looking!

  • mmm…looks really yummy and very much like the Mexican food I know of

  • your are correct about the name corn, wish i could read that book. i am always interested in hearing the real story.We are never to old to learn. Once I was talking to this young Mexican girl and I used the term America for U S A and she correct me. i hear many newsmen and politians talk about our country as AMERICA. The point being we are part of America not the only america.But it is true in this country we tend to think that our country is THE COUNTRY.

  • Pamela

    Oh please, I’m hungry now! 🙂

    But yeah, a few myths could do with shattering. That looks like a book I would enjoy.

  • Yummy, looking forward to more food posts! What’s that on top?

  • I am eager to try this. Your photo is enticing. We were out picking up our Vietnamese lunch today and spotted the “pupusa” on the sign for Taco Cabana. I didn’t know what it was but Sarah mentioned you had posted a pic. I bet your version is MUCH better than what is at TC.

  • Sompopo, you are right. it was good with cold ‘Gallo’ beer. I wish you were here. 😉

    John, you can have this pupusa vegetarian, if you can have cheese, you can order your pizza maya with greens.

    Luggi, you should run and do an Amazon one-click purchase.

    Kris, it tastes much more better than what it looks.

    Lisi, Mexican have many foods that are very similar; quesadillas are one example.

    Patsy, I am glad you understand that America is much more than one country.

    Pamela, you should read the book 1491. It is worth your money and your time.

    Thiên, you should try anyway. You’ll never know.

  • There is a serene and peace-ful feeling about being here. Makes you want to stick around for a while.

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