Sunday, October 25, 2020

El Salvador

Bouncing back from the other side of the world after our previous country Chad, we returned to the Western Hemisphere to learn about El Salvador!  El Salvador is the only Central American country without any coastline on the Atlantic side (Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea).  Bordered by Guatemala and Honduras, El Salvador is known for its communities living right alongside its many active volcanoes.

El Salvador Links

We were lucky enough to discover that we had an authentic Salvadoran restaurant close by - Casa Amaya!  We decided to go all out and buy a bunch of different dishes so we could try lots of different things.

On the left, there is plato tipico, a typical breakfast dish with pan-fried plantains, beans, cream, scrambled eggs, and tortillas.  The soda is Kolashanpan flavored and from El Salvador (La Cascada brand).  From what we can tell, it means a champagne-flavored soda that comes across like a medicinal cream soda.  Bottom left are some pork (carnitas) street tacos, and top middle are beef (carne asada) street tacos.  The plate on the bottom right has pupusas: cheese & loroco (an edible Salvadoran flower that tastes like slightly stringy broccoli), cheese & jalapeƱo, beef revueltas (with beans and cheese), and pork revueltas.  The pupusas are meant to be topped with the curtido (the pickled cabbage, carrots, and jalapeƱos in the baggies on the right), and they are fantastic together.  I also couldn't resist the Zambos bag of fried plantain chips even though they were from Honduras.

All of the food was so fun and very tasty.  While I was waiting for my order to come out, I chatted with the owner of the restaurant and was surprised to find out that he had sold it and was planning to retire at the end of the month.  I was so bummed!  But he also mentioned that he was thinking he was going to miss it and was already looking around for a larger location so he could reopen and have a Latin market as well.  I will definitely be keeping an eye out for that! 

Sunday, October 4, 2020


Super excited to learn about Chad!  This north-central African country is one of the top 25 largest countries in the world, and fifth largest in Africa.  Named for Lake Chad on its western edge, Chad is also known as the 'Dead Heart of Africa' because a significant portion of the country covers some of the harshest areas of the Sahara Desert.  Fun facts: the word Chad means 'lake' in a local language, and the word Sahara is from the Arabic word for 'desert', so Lake Chad is 'Lake Lake' and the Sahara Desert is 'Desert Desert'.

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Chadian Food

What with helping four kids with their e-learning, I wasn't quite up to the task of preparing a complete dinner of Chadian food, but I figured it wouldn't be too hard to try the Karkanji, which also looked really refreshing.  I ended up going with a recipe at with a few modifications.

I couldn't readily find hibiscus flowers, so I found hibiscus herbal tea bags at our local grocery store that used only the flowers.  I used 8 bags for the 2.5L of water the recipe called for, but I think I could easily get away with only 6.  I also used ground cinnamon (1 tsp substituted for the 1 cinnamon stick in the recipe) and ground cloves.  I used 3/4 tsp of ground cloves as a substitute for 10 whole cloves, but the flavor came through too strongly, so I would recommend at most 1/2 tsp of ground cloves, maybe less.  And I took the website advice and halved the sugar (using only 100g), and that seemed just right.

This was wonderfully tasty, so we will definitely be drinking this again!