Walking Spanish (Alhambra, CA)

You like pupusa’s?

You like goat stuffed pupusa’s?

You like Korean galbi stuffed pupusa’s?

You want the best chicken sandwich in LA? (Birdie’s and Howlin Ray’s included)

Walking Spanish
5453 Alhambra Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90032
Alhambra, CA

Screen Shot 2020-12-16 at 10.06.21 AM


Hi @ipsedixit,

Wow, high praise. Can’t wait to try this. :slight_smile: Thanks.

No go this Friday 12/18

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Oh gosh, I didn’t realize this might be my fault.

Thanks to the great recommendation from @ipsedixit we knew we had to pay Walking Spanish a visit, to try this interesting blend of Salvadorean cuisine mixed with star dishes from other countries like Mexico, Korea and the U.S.A.

Walking Spanish is a pop-up / start-up off of Instagram, that just recently (the past 2 weeks) finally found a more permanent location (more on that later). For our 1st visit, they were still in their original mode of operation: You send a DM on Instagram and hope you got your order in time (for the time slot you want).

It was pouring rain on the 1st visit, and perhaps that led to some of the hiccups. We showed up a few minutes late to our appointed time, but had DM’d Walking Spanish (who had replied, saying that was no problem). We messaged them again when we arrived (just a few minutes later) and they said to hang tight.

25 minutes later, we finally get our food. :frowning: I get that they are busy, but it shows the growing pains of doing a one-person operation. The chef-owner apologized, saying he had to handle cooking, packing and bringing orders out. It was understandable and we were still excited and rooting for this to be amazing, except I asked him if our food was prepared and ready at our pickup time and just sitting around, or was he just backed up and just finished cooking our food?

He assured us that our food was hot and freshly prepared, saying he was just busy. We didn’t wait to get home, fearing that the food might’ve just been sitting around 25 minutes, so we pulled into a nearby parking lot to enjoy the food as quickly as possible.

Birria Pupusa (Mexican Braised Beef, Onion & Cilantro, Consomme):

Walking Spanish specializes in Pupusas, which are Salvadorean “Stuffed Flatbreads” of sorts, discs of Cornmeal stuffed with a filling and then pan seared. One touch and we could tell it was what we feared: The Pupusa was steamed (in its foil wrapping) and mushy. :sob: It wasn’t slightly steamed, it was totally mushy. :frowning:

But the actual flavor filling within was excellent: The Birria was tender, savory, full of flavor, and not too salty.

Galbi Jjim Pupusa (Korean Braised Shortrib, Pickled Cabbage):

The Galbi Jjim Pupusa sadly suffered the same fate: Clearly made much earlier, it was steaming in its tightly wrapped foil to-go wrapping for a long time and it was also quite mushy. :frowning:

However, the filling was even tastier than the Birria: Combining that wonderful Korean comfort dish known as Galbi Jjim (Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs) with the Salvadorean Pupusa was a great match! It evoked Galbi Jjim flavors but also had the familiarity of Pupusas. :slight_smile:

We reheated these at home for dinner, putting it on a non-stick pan for a few minutes on each side and it toasted up nicely, crisping, and being lovely.

Pan Con Pollo (Fried Chicken Sandwich (Brioche, Pickled Slaw, Special Sauce, Yuca Fries, Spicy Ketchup)):

And the other unique item is their take on the nationwide popularity of the Fried Chicken Sandwich, this time Walking Spanish takes a Fried Chicken patty and dips it into a thick “Salvadorean Special Sauce” to give it a lightly spicy, tangy kick. Sadly, like the Pupusas (and you can see from the pic above), the Fried Chicken Sandwich was steaming in its tight to-go wrapping for a long time. The Chicken was soggy, the Brioche Bun was smashed and soggy, and it was lukewarm. :cry:

But taking a bite, there was this wonderful depth of flavor. I could see the potential if their Fried Chicken Sandwich wasn’t left steaming in the to-go container for so long.

The Yuca Fries were cold and dense.

Normally this would be a disaster of a meal (and it was disappointing), however, the flavor in each of the dishes we tried were excellent! I could imagine if all of this food wasn’t left steaming and sitting around for nearly 30 minutes, it might be incredible. So I wanted to give them another try.

2nd Visit (New Location):

Walking Spanish now has a new, more permanent Food Stand location! (Just a few minutes away from their old location.) The new operation is now more traditional: You just show up, and order and pay right there (no need to pre-order). Then they will make your food to order (great).

It seems Walking Spanish now has 3 assistants besides the Chef-Owner, and all 4 of them were keeping the orders flowing.

The Steakhouse Pupusa (Prime Flat Iron Steak, Charred Asparagus, Seasoned Cheese):

First, just look at the texture of the Pupusa on this 2nd visit, when it’s cooked to order! :open_mouth: Glorious toasty golden exterior, you could see the “crispiness”. :slight_smile: Taking a bite:

Piping hot, crispy exterior gives way to a glorious molten center of USDA Prime Flat Iron Steak, bits of Charred Asparagus and a flavorful lightly funky Cheese. It was outstanding! :heart:

Sleep 'N Cheesy Pupusa (Classic Plain Cheese):

Their Sleep 'N Cheesy Pupusa (Plain Cheese) is also glorious, cooked fresh to order, it was also piping hot, crispy on the outside and nothing like the mushy, steamed Pupusa we got on the 1st visit! :slight_smile:

Holy Trinity Pupusa (Bean, Cheese, Pork Chicharron):

Their Holy Trinity was also pretty good, but the Pork Chicharron was almost non-existent, tasting mainly of Beans and Cheese. But still an excellently made Pupupsa.

The Champion Pupusa (Mushroom Duxelle, Herbs de Provence, Cheese):

The 4th Pupusa showed some flaws in their new takeout system: We noticed that they were double stacking Pupusas per to-go container (to save space, minimize environmental waste perhaps), but as a result the The Champion Pupusa was getting slightly soft / soggy (but still piping hot). It was the 1st Pupusa made for our order, and then it sat around, then got a 2nd Pupusa stacked on top of it before it was closed up and given to us.

  • Suggestion: Ask for your Pupusas in separate containers, or if both are finished at the same time, then to give it to you immediately (so you can open it up and prevent steaming).

The Mushroom Pupusa’s flavor was thankfully very good: A wonderful, deeply savory, umami blend of tender, cooked down Mushrooms, light herbal notes and melty gooey Cheese. :blush:

(Special) Deep Waters (Marinated Grilled Prawns, Crispy Casamiento):

Walking Spanish is branching out a bit more, and featured a new special called Deep Waters, which was Marinated Grilled Prawns over a bed of crispy Rice and Beans (deep fried)! The Grilled Prawns had great smoky flavor and a lovely brininess, however, a minor quibble is that they were uncleaned (grilled whole in the shell), so you got some of the innards funk. But the Prawn meat itself was just cooked through, tasty but a bit messy (be prepared to mess with Shrimp shells).

The Savior (Pan Con Pollo)(Fried Chicken Patty, Brioche, Pickled Slaw, Relajo):

And finally, we got their Pan Con Pollo, rebranded as “The Savior” now (perhaps because it’s their most popular item?), and just look at the picture and compare it to the 1st visit (above)! :open_mouth: It’s like night and day.

We had them give us the Fried Chicken Sandwich immediately when it was done, and to not cover it (to prevent steaming).

Taking a bite:

THIS is what I was imagining when @ipsedixit recommended Walking Spanish to us. :wink: Crunchy, piping hot Fried Chicken Patty (using dark meat Chicken). The wonderful crunchiness remains for most of the time (by the last few bites, the breading had softened), as it was dipped in a thick, rich Housemade Salvadorean Relajo (spice mixture) Sauce that really elevates this Sandwich. It’s lightly spicy, tangy, fragrant from the Chilies and Cumin(?) and other ingredients. The Brioche Bun is soft enough and it is fantastic! :heart: (Thanks @ipsedixit!)

Is it better than Howlin’ Ray’s? It’s different. Howlin’ Ray’s Fried Chicken Sando is legendary in that classic American Fried Chicken Sandwich type of flavor profile. Walking Spanish’s is also wonderful because it is a total standout from all the clones of Howlin’ Ray’s that have popped up (too numerous to count). I love the Relajo seasoning and Walking Spanish’s unique twist.

Walking Spanish started off a bit rough for us (almost a disaster), but that was chalked up to their early days and our 1st visit was during a time that the chef-owner was by himself, making the orders, packing it and unfortunately ours got stuck sitting around for about 30 minutes before we got our food, resulting in steaming / sogginess. But now with a more permanent Food Stand and new location, and Walking Spanish cooking every order after you order, delivering it to you immediately, you can see the true potential:

Give their Salvadorean Pupusas a try. The thick, stuffed discs of Cornmeal feature a variety of interesting flavors, some traditional, some a branch into the founder’s culinary training, and exploring other cultures.

And their “The Savior” (Salvadorean Fried Chicken Sandwich) is another must order, a crunchy wonderful, standout take on the Fried Chicken Sandwich, slathered in a glorious tangy, fragrant Salvadorean Relajo Sauce, in addition to juicy, moist dark meat Chicken within makes this one of the standout Fried Chicken Sandwiches in L.A. at the moment.

Current Hours:

Friday 6pm-10pm
Saturday 6pm-11pm

Walking Spanish
5453 Alhambra Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90032



Ooph. Glad it all worked out for you at the end.

I am a big sucker for their chicken sandwich. Dark meat for the win!

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I’m glad the potential shown from the first visit was enough to prompt a second visit. The food does indeed look COMPLETELY different (and much better) the 2nd time around.

The HR chicken sandwich was good but not great during my one attempt during the pandemic, so I’m going to wait until HR is doing non-delivery. Maybe I’ll give this a try. :slight_smile:

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Thank you again @ipsedixit. :slight_smile: Really loved that Chicken Sandwich.

Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Yah, the flavors from the 1st visit really did stand out, even with the sogginess. And I wanted to give this startup a fair shake, realizing he must’ve been so overwhelmed and backed up with orders.

For Howlin’ Ray’s To-Go, yes. Definitely agree. I need to do a writeup, but suffice to say, HR To-Go during the pandemic (via Postmates) is nowhere near as good as in-store OG Howlin’ Ray’s. :frowning: Part of it is the To-Go nature, wrapping up your items (and steaming / softening). Even if you put in a fake address a few stores down, there’s still a good few minutes before you finally get the Sandwich to you, find a place to unpack and eat. And also, we found the taste / execution feels a bit more rushed.