The national dish in El Salvador is the "pupusa". A pupusa is a stuffed grilled tortilla. This tortilla is about 8 centimeters in diameter and half centimeter thick, and is made of dough, which can be prepared of mashed corn or rice. Common stuffing is cheese, or a combination of cheese with mashed pork cracklings, and/or mashed beans. Some other stuffing includes cheese with "loroco", mashed hard squash, and cheese with mashed hard squash. Pupusas are usually eaten for dinner, or for breakfast, and they are an inexpensive type of meal that families used to eat on weekends to escape out of the routine of the week, either in a traditional restaurant called "pupuseria", or at home.
Another traditional dish is the tamale, which is prepared by boiling or steaming a stuffed rectangular volume of dough, of around 10x5x3 centimeters, wrapped in leaves. There are at least four types of tamales, and they differ on the cereal that the dough is made of, the stuffing, and the type of leafs used to wrap it. The most common one is just called tamale, or "tamale of salt" in some regions, and their dough is made of corn. These types of tamales can be stuffed with chopped chicken, pork, duck (not too common) or chipilin, and are wrapped in corn leaves. If this tamale is stuffed with mashed beans instead, it is called "tamale pisque", which is served with tomatoesâ€™ sauce. If the traditional tamale is mixed with sugar during its preparation, and also stuffed with raisins, it is called "tamale of sugar". Another type of tamale is called "tamale of corn", whose dough is made of young corn, has no stuffing, is wrapped with corncob leaves, and is served with sour cream.
Typical options for breakfast are cereal with milk (most common among kids), tamales, pupusas, or a dish of eggs, beans, cheese, plantain, and one or two tortillas or bread. Coffee is common for breakfast. The eggs can be scrambled or fried. Beans can be mashed and fried, soupy, or mixed with rice, in which case they are called "casamiento" (wedding, as an analogy for the colors of the beans and the rice with the groom and the bride). Cheese for breakfast could be one slice of soft-unripened cheese, or a type of local hard cheese. Plantain could be served as fried and sliced, or chopped and parboiled.
The typical lunch includes rice, chicken, beef or fish, fresh salad, one or two tortillas, and a soft drink.
For dinner, families usually prepare at home a dish similar to the breakfast that might include eggs, beans, cheese and plantain. Pupusas or tamales are other options for dinner.
Common afternoon snacks are pastries with coffee.
It is polite for guests to try some of every dish that is served. Leaving a little food on the plate is considered good manners. Guests compliment the host or hostess on the meal, something which assures the hosts that the guests feel welcome.