Insider’s Guide

Best of International Houston: El Salvador

Mayan artifacts, salsa dancing and, of course, pupusas

By Nick Esquer September 1, 2015 Published in the September 2015 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Salvadoran brunch at Gloria's

Population in Houston: 104,000 (the 4th largest Salvadoran population in the country)

Gloria’s Latin Cuisine

2616 Louisiana St., Ste. 101, 832-360-1710,

Gloria and Jose Fuentes were both just 17 when they arrived in Houston from El Salvador in 1978. Within a decade, they had taken over Gloria’s sister’s restaurant in Dallas, which has now become a statewide chain with 15 locations. By day, the always-busy Midtown location offers a mix of upscale Salvadoran and Tex-Mex favorites, while weekend evenings—21 and up only—feature live salsa music and dancing into the wee hours of the night.

La Pupusa Alegre

6209 Bellaire Blvd., 713-778-9222 

This jukebox music-filled, Christmas light-bedecked hole-in-the-wall eatery in Southwest Houston dishes up some of the best pupusas you’ve never had. The light and fluffy tortillas, a Salvadoran favorite, can be topped or stuffed with extras like briny cabbage or stacks upon stacks of meat.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

1001 Bissonnet St., 713-639-7300,

The museum’s permanent collection of Central American art includes ancient Mayan artifacts discovered in what is present-day El Salvador. The Mayan art, meanwhile, depicts a refined and graceful civilization, along with the handcrafted tools that helped to build its incredible palaces and temples.

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