When I heard that the town of Juayua was popular for their weekend Feria Gastronomica (or Food Festival) I knew that it needed to be on my itinerary. Who doesn’t want to experience a festival of foods while traveling abroad?
Let’s be real here: Is food not the main drive behind all travel?
Good place for a food collage? I think yes.
The Feria Gastronomica takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 12:00pm-5:00pm. The streets around Parque Central become filled with mis-matched plastic chairs and tables while vendors strike up their grills and prepare foods.
As you walk through, Spanish music fills the air along with the clangity-clang of spatulas on grilltops. Vendors call out their specialties while they force you to take a sample of beef (or really, whatever meat they have because honestly I couldn’t tell…)
Each stall has a table set up in front giving visual examples of the plates they can prepare for you. Most of them will be some combination of grilled beef, beans and rice, salsa, salad, and tortillas. You’ll also find fish, prawns, and rabbit meat.
While about 90% of the vendors offer their grilled selections, there are a handful that stray away from this theme. There are a few that sell beverages: Water, beer, coke, and a variety of Tropical brand sodas. There’s also the booth that sells the Pina-Loca. This is essentially a hollowed out pineapple filled with a variety of tropical-type boozes. Another booth sells hot french fries with mayonnaise. And another booth (my favorite) sells different cakes.
The Feria Gastronomica is a little unlike what you’d expect from a food festival though. Instead of trying small samples of different foods from many different vendors, you order a full plate of food from one vendor. Two, if you’re really hungry. The plates will range in price from $3-7, based on what foods you get.
So what did I eat? Allow me:
Here, we have a lovely plate, filled to the styrofoam brim with goodness. The main event: carne asada. You can see it peeking out from the bottom. We’ve also got fresh corn tortillas, sauteed white onion, a bit of corn on the cob, and some good ‘ole fashioned black beans ‘n rice. There is a bit of fresh salsa tucked away at the back that the photo doesn’t show. And to top it off, a bacon-stuffed hassleback potato.
I am 100% glad I had someone to share this with, because it would not have all fit into my tummybox.
…and especially because then I wouldn’t have had room for THIS:
What we have on the left is a delicious, light almond cake. It was sweet, but not in an overbearing kind of way. My little friend on the right, here, was more of a super dense pudding cake. It tasted like cinnamon, sugar, and all my hopes and dreams.
If you’re ready to jump on the next chicken bus to the Feria Gastronomica, here is everything you’ll want to know about the little town of Juayua, El Salvador!