Some of the best food in Richmond is hidden in plain sight — anyone who has ever paid a visit to Norma Meat & Deli, a small Salvadoran-Mexican restaurant and meat counter in the back section of the Val-Mar Market convenience store, can attest to that. For the past four years, that’s where Norma Muñoz has been serving hand-made pupusas, stellar tacos, and burritos as thick as a carpenter’s forearm. In addition to their girth, the super burritos — especially the al pastor and the carnitas — are balanced and well-constructed: a pleasing union of the savoriness of seasoned rice, the brightness of guacamole, and the charred flavors of the grilled meats. Muñoz, a native of El Salvador, also makes some of the best hand-formed pupusas around — thin and light, with a high proportion of crispy, caramelized edges, such that they’ll make the other pupusas you’ve eaten seem starchy and overstuffed by comparison. Don’t miss the wonderful, weekend-only menudo, or tripe soup.

— Luke Tsai

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