If you didn’t get a chance to hear Kojo Nnamdi‘s program yesterday on Salvadoran food, you can still listen to the segment over on the show’s website. It’s well worth the hour investment — in large part because of the great tips callers provided to the show.
One of Nnamdi’s producers, Michael Martinez, and I had been talking about a Salvadoran food segment for weeks. Martinez did tons of leg work and helped produce this show on the woefully under-appreciated cuisine, but he also helped produce the video above. (There’s another vid after the jump.)
We didn’t get a chance to explore the idea much during the show yesterday, but one of the unspoken themes was the fact that two of the guests, Reyna Guardado, co-owner of Guardado’s in Bethesda, and Juan Alberto Melgar, chef and owner of Johnny’s Kabob in Germantown, both operate restaurants far from their native cuisine. Guardado’s serves Spanish tapas, Johnny’s Persian food.
It speaks to a truth about Salvadorans and many other Latinos in this country: They have an ability to set aside their own nationalism and embrace a culture other than their own. I suspect it may be easier for them, given all the motivations that spurred Salvadorans during the civil war to flee to the United States; the need for work and money, of course, will force many difficult sacrifices.
But, still, could you ever imagine a Frenchman opening a pupuseria?