By Christina Autry
“Antojitos Anamoros” roughly translates to “cravings,” something you’re sure to identify with after a few bites at this traditional Salvadoran restaurant in the Five Corners District. Salvadoran families may find a taste of home at Antojitos Anamoros, and it provides a delicious introduction to Central American foods for those who have not grown up with this culinary tradition.
Salvadoran food is naturally very distinct from Mexican or especially Tex-Mex dishes that many are accustomed to in Houston. You won’t see tacos, burritos, or fajitas in a strictly Salvadoran restaurant, but rather pupusas with curtido, sopas (soups) and caldos (stews), Salvadoran tamales, plantains, and fried yuccas, to name a few.
However, for those who are true Mexican food aficionados, you’ll find some similarities of ingredients between our neighbor south of the border and El Salvador, such as widespread use of maize flour, or the seafood soups common to both countries’ coastal regions. It’s an unintimidating jump for a Houstonian to try Salvadoran food.
Very little English is spoken at Antojitos Anamoros, so those of us who do not speak Spanish are thankful for the picture-heavy menus when dining-in. If you’re calling for take-out, make sure and grab a Spanish-speaking friend who can place your order.
Glancing over the menu, you’ll see most of the Salvadoran classics, including, first and foremost: pupusas. Pupusas are not just the most notable Salvadoran food, they are a daily staple across much of rural El Salvador. Visit a countryside village in El Salvador, and pupusas will immediately become an essential part of your diet, made with farm-fresh ingredients harvested by local farmers.
Pupusas are made from ground maize flour, filled with beans, cheese, or meat, formed into circular, flat shape, and fried. Pupusas may involve simple ingredients, but it takes skill to quickly form the pupusas and its contents into the perfect shape. Urban pupusa-makers commonly use metal pans to fry the pupusas, while rural cooks oftentimes use outdoor stone ovens lit by a wood-burning fire.
While rural Salvadorans rarely use meat in their meals to save on cost, we are treated to a variety of fillings. You can choose from cheese and pork, beans and cheese, seafood and cheese, and more. No matter which pupusa you get, it will always come with curtido and salsa. Curtido is chopped, fermented cabbage, with some similarity to cole slaw, minus the creaminess. The slightly sour and crunchy curtido serves as a great contrast to the cheesey, fried pupusa.
The Salvadoran tamale is another essential dish, and is absolutely mouth-watering. Unwrap the banana leaf that it has been cooked in, and you’ll find a thick, flavorful corncake stuffed with shredded chicken. A very different style from the Mexican tamale, as it is arguably thicker and softer.
Fried sweet plantains are an absolute must, as they are chopped into thick bite-sized chunks and pan-fried to sweet, tender perfection. Eat them fresh off the stove for the best flavor and texture – with or without the sour cream dipping sauce that is provided.
Chicharrones, or salty, fatty fried bits of pork served with sides of hard goat cheese, a fried egg, and rice cooked in stock is one Salvadoran breakfast options. The restaurant is open from 9AM until evening every day, and offers dishes ranging from breakfast to dinner, though any meal on their menu is available at any time of day.
Whether you’ve lived in El Salvador, visited, or are merely taking a culinary trip while remaining in Houston, the Salvadoran flavors at this Five Corners District restaurant are bound to keep you “craving” for more.
12825 S Post Oak Rd suite l
Houston, TX 77045