pupusasmalecon2.jpgThe quick thwap, thwap, thwap of women’s hands tossing thick corn tortillas from palm to palm is the sound of Salvadoran soul food.

No state-of-the-art kitchen gadgets, recipes or plastic gloves required. Just the flutter of hands stretching dough, warming the masa, and gently pulling and patting pupusas into imperfect circles. Pan-fried to deliciousness.

These chubby cousins to the tortilla are the original to-go food: Convenient pockets of cheese, meat, veggies, beans sealed inside corn flat bread. On the side: Curtido (a fermented cabbage that’s El Salvador’s version of kimchi) and salsa.

Cooler than a quesadilla. More able to conquer lunchtime hunger than a mere taquito. And handmade just for you.

El Malecon: Salvadoran natives, Sonoma State students and in-the-know chow hounds rub elbows at this mom-and-pop eatery tucked well off the beaten path. The owners make everything by hand, including the best pupusas in Sonoma County. Fresh horchata, banana leaf-wrapped tamales and hearty platos of ham, eggs, rice, beans and queso fresco round out the menu. 217 Southwest Blvd., Rohnert Park, (707) 794-9047

Pupuseria Salvadorena: One of the first pupuserias to hit the radar of local foodies, this humble little eatery is all about fresh pupusas and authentic El Salvadoran comfort food. Try their pupusas de chicarron, queso y frijoles (pork, cheese and beans), pupusa de queso, calabaza y Espinaca (cheese, squash and spinach) or the pupusa y loroco (a pupusa with loroco flower, an edible flower that grows in Central and South America). And at $2 each, they’re a steal. 1403 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa, 707.544.3141