Never Heard Of It is a series of stories exploring Vancouver’s many informal hole-in-the-wall eateries. These are the places that don’t get much in the way of traditional media play as they tend to avoid the typical paths of PR, seldom fiddling over tweets, posting imagery to Instagram, or playing the Facebook game. Browse the Never Heard Of It archive here.
Did you have a couple too many drinks last night? Feeling a little worse for wear? The restorative power of pupusas are on your side, especially the ones handmade at El Caracol Cafe on Victoria Drive. These satisfying, corn tortilla pockets stuffed with a mix of pork, cheese and refried beans are the specialty on a deep menu that boasts a broad swath of Latin American flavours. Reminiscent of the sort of bodega you might find in Queens, El Caracol’s vibrant, colourful interior is fully kitted out with a tropical mural, a rack of vernacular DVDs, a standing display of jewelry, and other goods for sale. If you’re not one for impulse purchases, stick to the trio of pupusas that come hot off the skillet with a bit of the cheese always finding its way to the outer edges, crisping up the tortilla. Each order arrives with a pair of salsas and a jar of curtido; an essential Salvadorian condiment of lightly fermented cabbage and carrot. While the rest of the menu deals in token Mexican fare like nachos, tacos and burritos, it’s the little details like curtido that hint at the Salvadorian heart of the kitchen. If you’re looking for a more immersive taste of Salvadorian flavour, dig into their sopa de mariscos (seafood soup) as a follow-up.
EL CARACOL CAFE | 5190 Victoria Drive | Vancouver, BC | 11AM – 10PM, daily | Cash Only