Juayua Food Festival
Tucked away in the Northern highlands of El Salvador, along the Ruta de Flores, is the small town of Juayua. This sleepy town comes alive every weekend with their famous Juayua food festival. The normally quiet plaza bursts into action with stalls lining the street, each cooking up different delicacies for tourists and locals. Stepping into this madness can be overwhelming, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Sample it up
A couple of stalls will be giving out free samples. Take advantage! If you’re unsure, go back for seconds. Let the cooks woo you with their savory treats. Let them fight over you. It’s all part of the fun.
Don’t fill up on maiz
Latin America loves corn. They have about 10 million different foods based on an infinite combination of ingredients, but all with the same base staple: corn meal. Cooks will be grilling and frying up these corn treats in all shapes and sizes. Politely decline. The fried goodness may be delicious, but it’ll fill you up instantly, leaving you regretting that you didn’t get to the good stuff earlier.
Get the biggest bang for your buck
Just because you’re in El Salvador doesn’t mean things will be cheap. At the festival, a cup full of shrimp cocktail will cost about $5. That may not sound like much, but when you can get a heaping plate of beef, potatoes and salad for the same price, it’s not worth it. The combination plates are where it’s at. These dishes can have up to 4 different animals on them at once. This is really where you’ll get the most for your dollar and be able to sample a few different foods. Just be sure to….
Know what you’re getting
Don’t be shy. Ask what is on your plate! You may think you’ve just ordered a big helping of fresh fish only to discover a greasy unidentifiable mystery meatball hiding underneath. Ask for a full explanation of your plate before you start digging in. Especially if you have any food allergies or preferences.
Don’t miss the entertainment
After you’ve stuffed your belly full of deliciousness, roll yourself over to the main plaza. If you’re lucky, local celebrity Manuel Jose will be wooing the crowd with his vocal abilities. What better cultural experience that watching a middle-aged El Salvadorian man sing and dance to Gangnam style?
Invest in the dulces
If you have any room left in that belly, be sure to take advantage of the dessert section. These sweet treats may be on the pricey side, but trust me, they’re worth it. Snatch up the tiramisu before it sells out.