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Grocery Stores

Emporium Latino

Posted by Toto Schillaci / Posted on September 9, 2013

Emporium LatinoEmporium Latino is a tiny, unassuming grocery store in Kensington Market that flies way under the radar, unless you're Latin American. Walk directly past the imported aliments and you'll see an older lady clasping her hands together to form a little piece of Salvadorian heaven.

If you've been living under a taco your entire life, the pupusa is a thick, handmade corn tortilla stuffed with your choice of filling and served with curtido, a tangy cabbage relish similar to coleslaw.

While you may be tempted to over think it, I often stick with the classic frijol y queso filling (cheese and refried beans), $2.99. You can't go wrong with the delicious combination of warm cheese and refried beans simultaneously dissolving in your mouth.

If a meal isn't a meal without a little meat, try the Revuelta (pork, cheese and refried beans), $2.99. It's just as tasty as the previously mentioned, but more flavourful thanks to the finely ground pork known as chicharrĂ³n.

Now there are two ways to eat a pupusa, with your hands or with a fork and knife. If you prefer the latter, chances are you'd be called a fresa (a snob) if we were in El Salvador. Luckily we're in Canada, so feel free to get your cutlery on.

Emporium LatinoPupusas aren't the only thing this place does well. There's also the fried plantain with cheese ($2.99). It may sound odd, but the taste is anything but. The sweetness of the plantain works wonders with the layers of gooey cheese, which bury the starchy banana almost to non-existence. Just be sure to wash it down with an ice cold Jarrito or a Mexican Coke. You know, the kind made with cane sugar.

Emporium LatinoIf your looking for perfect presentation or plates that aren't made from Styrofoam, you've come to the wrong place. Emporium Latino is all about the flavour. And just a little forewarning before visiting, they take their time here, so leave your North American values at the door.

Okay, so I've never been to El Salvador, but I once had a Salvadorian roommate and amidst all the drinking and late night salsa dancing, dude loved pupusas. And he loved them specifically at this place. It's not hard to see why.

Emporium LatinoPhotos by Ike Ford

Discussion

16 Comments

Anon / March 15, 2012 at 01:20 pm
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Like this place quite a bit. Their kitchen at the back has nice, homey Salvadoran food. My favourite might be their flautitas pollo.
AS / July 13, 2012 at 03:50 pm
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Went there today and the woman that worked there was super helpful! I will definitely go back!
lauren / June 20, 2013 at 12:53 pm
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absolutely amazing food! the pupusas and tamales are out of this world
Alan / September 9, 2013 at 09:28 am
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They offer pupusas made of both corn and rice. I tried the rice ones with pork inside. They took longer to make but they were beautifully crispy.
John / September 9, 2013 at 09:41 am
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I love small places like this! Thanks Toto!
laurel / September 9, 2013 at 09:41 am
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yes!! my favourite spot in the market. bean and cheese pupusa and the stuffed poblano pepper; amazing!
Olie / September 9, 2013 at 09:44 am
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I'm definitely a "fresa" when it comes to eating pupusas! Great article. I'm glad this place is finally getting the mainstream recognition it deserves.
Latinadiva / September 9, 2013 at 11:46 am
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chicharrón is not "finely ground pork",it's deliciously crispy fried pork rind aka cracklin'. Sorry but that's a BIG difference. Just sayin' though :)
ELtoro replying to a comment from Latinadiva / September 9, 2013 at 11:56 am
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Sorry LatinDiva, but you're the one who has got it wrong: "The word chicharrón means different things in different parts of Central and South American. Usually chicharrones are fried pieces of pork rind or some kind of fatty fried pork. In El Salvador, chicharrón is finely shredded seasoned pork used to fill the popular stuffed corn tortillas called pupusas." Just sayin' though :)
Roberto Baggio / September 9, 2013 at 11:59 am
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lol Toto schillaci
JoeCarter / September 9, 2013 at 01:49 pm
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Great to see this place on BlogTO. Woman in the back is the sweetest, nicest person ever. If you need a quick bite and a great spot to watch people walk by - this is it. Also, they have tons of cheap tortillas that are better than all the garbage white folk are use to.
Gringo Fresa / September 9, 2013 at 03:56 pm
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I LOVE this place! I swing by as frequently as I can, and it's always near the top of list of places to bring friends visiting the city.
Alex / September 12, 2013 at 04:41 pm
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Way to insult the gringos, BlogTO! I enjoy buying quinoa here. It is priced under $3/lb. What a steal!
Paella guy / October 5, 2013 at 01:03 pm
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Does anyone know where to get
Prepardo Paella con Azafran by Hacedado?

Thanks,
Ralph
Cat / January 17, 2014 at 09:58 am
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I love salvadorean food,but the pic of the plantain looks nasty,and If is it salvadorean food what Jarritos is doing in this context?
ou / January 20, 2014 at 08:03 pm
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my favourite part of the review is "they take their time here, so leave your North American values at the door."

i just got back from a few weeks in ES. no one is in a rush to get anything done. at first it was frustrating, but then you come to appreciate the laid back nature of the country and start resenting the go go rush rush culture that we live in.

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