Grilled starch and cheese: Pupusas are a food so simple that everyone should love them. We’ve waxed rhapsodic about “the unsung heroes of Latin cuisine” before, and since that last update, the joys of griddle-fried tortillas stuffed with cheese remain bountiful. But that list of places to find pupusas focused only on Dallas, including two different joints on the east side’s Carroll Avenue.
If you’ve been craving pupusas but you live in North Dallas, Plano, Addison or Carrollton, good news: They’re in your neck of the woods, too. Pupusas Doña Lola, on Webb Chapel Road just south of Belt Line Road, is a justly popular mainstay. Owned by a family from El Salvador, Doña Lola has a low-key feel, with a Salvadoran flag, a couple of posters and two TVs switched to soccer games. At lunchtime, the restaurant grows full, but not loud. In the corner, a kid is slowly dismantling his food and playing with the stringy cheese inside. Each table comes with a jug of pickled cabbage-carrot slaw.
Before the food even arrives, you know it will be good. One pupusa comes with a filling of loroco, a type of edible flower bud common in Central America. Don’t imagine flower petals in your meal; loroco looks more like the tips of asparagus. Another veggie option is the pupusa with ayote, a kind of squash. Or you can go whole hog and get the deluxe, a pupusa with shrimp and loroco both. No matter which you order, the fillings are generous and the griddle adds that inimitable flavor which, just by being so unhealthy, makes you feel inner peace. If a little cheese spills out of the filling and melts into a crisp, all the better.
The most expensive pupusa Doña Lola sells is a whole $2, and most standards, like pork-and-cheese, will set you back $1.75. Get a glass of horchata or a side dish, and even with a generous tip your lunch will only cost $7. There aren’t many other ways in Dallas to get that full on that little money. Take-out orders are available, too.
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Pupusas Doña Lola, 1012 Webb Chapel Road, Carrollton, 972-418-0129