Pupuseria la Flor

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Pupuseria la Flor

Pupuseria la Flor

Location: NE 181st and Glisan
Hours: Weekdays and weekend, lunchtime

The Story:

Recently, Portland has added numerous pupuserias to the food cart rolls in every quadrant of the city. A couple have actually been incubators for others to learn Portland’s food cart system and start their own. I love that! While out east searching for new carts and trucks, I came upon Pupuseria la Flor and had a chat with the owners.

Ericka and her mother Floridalma opened the cart a few months ago, but ran into some issues with the location and whether they were in Portland or Gresham. While the City of Gresham is in Multnomah county (the board of health licenses food carts), the city has additional regulations regarding street vendors that sometimes make it difficult to do business there. Ergo, they moved the cart to the new location which is Portland and they’re glad they did. They have setup a covered area with table and chairs so when it is either sunny or rainy, you can sit down and enjoy your meal.

Pupusa Chicharron

Pupusa Chicharron

The menu at Pupuseria la Flor has churascos, platanos, empanadas and enchiladas along with pupusas. Having learned how they are made this past year, I had a great conversation with Flor with Ericka translating. She was genuinely surprised I knew how they were made and proceeded to make me a chicharron con queso pupusa even though I had eaten recently. I’m glad she did. I love how the chicharron is mixed throughout the dough and then grilled. The queso, a Mozzarella, is stringy and simple and keeps everything together. Dribble on a bit of hot sauce and you have a nice little snack.

Ericka calls her mother Flower and every time I looked over to her she was beaming with a smile that I compare to a blooming rose. She loves to cook and loves to tell others about the dishes she makes. If you live out east, drop on by the mini mart on NE 181st and Glisan and give Pupuseria la Flor a try. You won’t be disappointed. Let them now Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Pupusas: pork with cheese, cheese or a mix – $2.50
  • Churascos: flour tortilla with steak, red salsa and vinegar cole slaw – $3.50
  • Yuca con Chicharon: yuca with pork – $3.50
  • Platanos: plantains – $3.50

Hours: daily for lunch and afternoon
Phone: 503 957 9393

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Pupuseria La Miguelena

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Pupuseria la Miguelena

Pupuseria la Miguelena

Location: SE 82nd and Harney, Cartlandia
Hours: weekdays, lunchtime into afternoon

The Story:

I was first introduced to Salvadorian pupusas last summer at La Cocina de Chepe. While there, I met Zoyla, the pupusa master making her magic in the kitchen. I was happy to see her in her own cart that opened in April.

Zoyla hails from San Miguel and makes the traditional pupusa El Salvador is known for. You can see a video of her creating the dish here. At her cart, you get the same amazing dish, but now she is in control. I enjoyed chatting with her about her transition from employee to cart owner with her friend Ed doing a bit of translating. If Zoyla didn’t understand, she would ask us both to teach her the English. All this while she crafted the dough and ingredients and threw the pupusa on the flattop. She has made so many of these, she can do it in her sleep and they are still amazing. Such a warm smile, I’m overjoyed to see Zoyla out on her own.

Along with pupusas, you can enjoy other Salvadorian dishes like yuca con chicharron, platano frido or tamales Salvadorenos. I was all about the pupusas, so picked up a cheese, a cheese and bean and a cheese and loroco. Loroco is made from a flower that blooms in El Salvador. I devoured these guys and wished I had ordered more to have another day. For  hand food at a low price, pupusas may just become a go-to food for me.

Zoyla’s cart, Pupuseria La Miguelena is now open at Cartlandia out on SE 82nd and Harney. Along with 20 other carts and a beer garden, she serves up her dishes daily and on weekends during the lunch hour and beyond. Drop on by and congratulate her on opening her own cart and let her know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Pupusas – $2.50
  • Yuca con Chicharron – $5.50
  • Platano Frito – $5
  • Bistec Encebollado – $7
  • Tamales Salvadorenos – $2

Hours: weekdays and weekends for lunch and more
Phone: 503 804 3653

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La Cocina De Chepe

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La Cocina de Chepe

La Cocina de Chepe

Location: SE 102nd and Stark
Hours: Tues-Fri, 11am-8pm, Sat/Sun, 10am-8pm

The Story:

The east wind blows cold in winter and the lot at 102nd and Stark is right in its path. That doesn’t close the carts though. Inside the seating area for La Cocina de Chepe, picnic tables are surrounded by space heaters while customers enjoy some wonderful Salvadorian fare.

La Cocina de Chepe – Chepe’s Kitchen – is one of those carts everyone talks about. Chepe, the owner, opened the cart in early August and by the end of the month, customers were bringing their own chairs and tables to setup in the lot. Chepe servers up authentic Salvadorian food and ensures he is using ingredients that you would find only in El Salvador. The Salvadorian red bean is an example of an ingredient he has a difficult time sourcing in Oregon, so he gets it from LA. It may be more expensive, but their signature Pupusa wouldn’t be authentic without it. As the crowds came and continue to come, La Cocina de Chepe became a beacon for the Salvadorian community in Portland. Chepe even reconnected with a high school mate who came to the cart for lunch. Small world.

El Salvador is famous for the pupusas which is a tortilla filled with cheese, beans, chicharron, and other ingredients. When I first thought of chicharron, I imagined the type of chicharron one would find at Mexican restaurants. Chepe instructed me how Salvadorians do it by making chicharron from pork, but then mixing it with beans and blending it to make a paste before adding it to the pupusa. Watching them make the pupusa was an art form – molding it and adding the fillings and frying it on the flattop. There are many traditional fillings for pupusas and La Cocina de Chepe has them along with some new signature items Chepe has designed for Portland. They even have queso y loroco which is made with the flower bud of the loroco plant from Central America.

The pod at SE 102nd and Stark has many options for street food dining. La Cocina de Chepe is open every day except Monday till 8pm so you can either grab lunch, an afternoon snack or dinner for the family. In the summer, be sure to bring a chair. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Pupusas: numerous options which include beans, cheese, chicharron, squash, loroco, pork – prices range from $2.25-$3
  • Pan Con Pollo: chicken sandwich with sauce, water cress, sliced cucumber and other vegetables – $6.50
  • Steak Encebollado – steak w/smothered caramelized onion with rice and beans, fresh salad and fried plantains – $8.95
  • Sandwich Cubano – ham, cheese and roasted pork, mustard and pickles – $6.50
  • Yuca con Chicharrones – broiled or fried yuca root served with chicharrones, fresh salad, tomato sauce and curtido – $6.50

Hours: Tues-Fri, 11am-8pm, Sat/Sun, 10am-8pm
Phone: 5039339483

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