Review: Pupuseria Lazo strikes right balance

Pictured, clockwise from left: A bean, cheese, and pork pupusa, fried plantains and refried beans and curtido from Pupuseria Lazo #2 in Stafford during a recent visit. (Photo by Stefan Modrich)

In order to fully appreciate the cuisine of one of the fast-growing ethnic groups in the Greater Houston area and Fort Bend County, treating yourself to a pupusa is a must.

For pupusas of the El Salvadoran variety, Fort Bend residents have several options to choose from in close proximity.

At Pupuseria Lazo #2 in Stafford, you can expect a quality and inexpensive meal that is well-balanced and satisfying. By going off the main menu, I spent less than $15 and ended up with enough food to easily share between two people.

For those who are venturing out to try pupusas ($1.50 and up) for the first time, here is a primer: A pupusa is a thick flatbread stuffed with cheese and your choice of protein. It has a soft and smooth texture on the inside and out.

You can try them the way I did — stuffed with beans and pork — or with loroco, an edible flower that has a similar flavor profile to broccoli, chard or squash.

No pupusa is complete without its sidekick, curtido. Salvadoran curtido is like coleslaw or kimchi, lightly fermented and most often made with a white cabbage base. It also includes onions, carrots, oregano and sometimes lime juice.

Curtido’s bright, crisp and crunchy texture pairs well with the hearty, chewy pupusa.

Other popular items are tamales ($1.25 and up), which differ mainly from Mexican tamales in that they are made with banana leaves instead of corn husks.

A glass of horchata, a plant-based milk, is an excellent way to wash down a meal like this. But there are several refrescos (natural juices) available, including natural flavors like hibiscus and tamarind ($2.50 for a medium, $3.50 for a large). Sodas are $1 in a can and $2.50 for a bottle.

There are several breakfast items available and a large list of antojitos, or snacks, that can accompany any entree. My personal favorite was the platanos fritos (fried plantains, $5.25) that were served with a helping of refried beans and a mixture of sour cream, condensed milk and cheese that is a refreshing and delicious addition to the sweet bananas.

Pupuseria Lazo #2

Address: 1110 FM 2234, Stafford

Hours: 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Entrée prices: $9-$15.99

Kid-friendly: Yes

Senior discount: No

Healthy options: None

Star of the show: Pupusas

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