EL SALVADOR: Sopa de pata, yuca frita con chicharron

I stopped by a Salvadoran restaurant here in Ottawa, La Cabaña, to pick up some good Salvadoran specialties. This restaurant has been open for about 25 years – the owners used to drive to Montreal to go to Salvadoran restaurants, and decided to fix the lack of access to Salvadoran food in Ottawa themselves.

While I’ve had pupusas from this restaurant before (and they’re really good!), I wanted to try some other dishes from El Salvador – sopa de pata and yuca frita con chicharron.

Sopa de pata is a traditional rustic soup that uses the meat from a cow’s foot. Everything in this soup is cut into big chunks (I kinda needed a fork) and simmered in a salty broth. There were big chunks of on-the-bone ankle meat, strips of tripe, and thick cut carrots, zucchini, and chayote. The broth is a bit citrusy, with some coriander and achiote. Very warm for a cold winter’s day here in Ottawa!

I also picked up yuca frita con chicharron – deep fried yuca (cassava) and pork belly. This is a dangerously good snack – enough for a whole meal on it’s own, especially since it comes with thick tortillas and curdito! The yuca is satisfyingly carby, a bit softer than fried potato. The chicharron is tender and deeply flavourful. They’re served mixed together, and topping them with the included lime absolutely knocks them out of the park.

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