It’s like calling Pike Place Market a fruit stand. Oh, there’s a bakery all right—big colorful cases full of sugar cookies and pan mexicanos, sticky buns and the caramelly Caribbean bread pudding called budin, among other diet products. But the savories in this merry fluorescent-lit mercado—see, there’s the menu, much of it in Spanish, over the register—are what compel so many devotees, Salvadorean and otherwise, to make White Center a stop on their way wherever. Exhibit A: Number 26, featuring a deep-fried sweet plantain damming a purple lake of creamy refritos; crunchy bits of fried cassava root; charred nuggets of the fried pork known as chicharrón; one of the finest moist tamales in three counties; curtido, the brisk Salvadorean cabbage salad; and a pupusa—a Salvadorean stuffed tortilla—oozing flavor and enough delicious grease to end the oil crisis now and forever. Dios mío, it’s good.
Read more in World’s Fare.