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MARTE San Salvador

Food Trucks and Art: A Perfect Lunch Date at MARTE San Salvador

Blending street food and modern art at MARTE San Salvador makes for the perfect lunchtime date in El Salvador’s capital city. Patricia Trigueros explains…

I’ve always been fascinated by the distinction between dining in and taking food to go. You have to specify whether it’s “for here” or “to go.”

Personally, I prefer takeout. My ideal way of enjoying anything is on the move. I pour coffee into a thermos, wrap sandwiches, and head to the park for lunch. There’s nothing like leaving a coffee shop with a disposable cup and sipping it on the way to your destination.

I often prefer self-service over waiter service. As you read on, you’ll discover the advantages of casual self-service when it comes to dining in El Salvador‘s capital city. We’ll look beyond the obvious food options in San Salvador and find the best ways to eat based on your time and budget.

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And what about art? Can you experience art like fast food?

Experiences are always better when tailored to fit your mood. Plus, you can combine experiences in unique ways. There are endless possibilities beyond the classic “dinner and a movie” date. Art and takeout food, two distinct ways to immerse yourself in a city’s culture, can make for a great date.

First, suggest trying something different. Mention that you have just the thing in mind. Maybe both of you have been there before, or perhaps not recently, but consider visiting MARTE (Museo de Arte de El Salvador), San Salvador’s Modern and Contemporary Art Museum during your lunch break. Delay lunch a bit; you’ll make it there. After a quick visit to explore the art collection and temporary exhibits.

Opened in 2003, MARTE San Salvador primarily focuses on showcasing Salvadoran art, but also hosts exhibitions by foreign artists. It also offers educational initiatives, community engagement programs, and public events.

The museum is housed in a building designed by Salvadoran architect Salvador Choussy in 1947. It has exhibition spaces, administrative areas, artwork storage, workshops. The building covers an area of 2,968 square meters, with 1,208 square meters dedicated to exhibitions, distributed across five rooms. Three of these rooms feature permanent displays of Salvadoran art (Gran Sala, Sala 3, and Sala 4), while the remaining two are reserved for temporary exhibitions, complemented by alternative spaces.

Entrance is cheap, too. It costs a dollar for Salvadorans, $3 for foreign residents, and $5 for foreign tourists. We’re talking an inexpensive lunch date here!

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The museum is usually empty at lunchtime

You’ll have more space to move between the rooms, stroll down the ramp past Rosa Mena Valenzuela’s vibrant brush strokes and textured abstractions, and into the main hall. You’ll end up ordering a bit of everything: from early realist and academic paintings to El Salvador’s artistic canon, represented by 174 priceless artworks.

Soon enough, you’ll reach the contemporary wing, featuring artists like Walterio Iraheta and Simon Vega. The diverse concepts, shapes, formats, and materials will accompany you through the temporary exhibitions and out into the hot sun.

You’ll be hungry but more relaxed after having the art to yourselves.

The food trucks are conveniently close, less than a block from the museum. You’ll be the only customers, as others rushed to form lines while you took the time to appreciate the art.

You’ll spread out among the trucks, perusing the options. One of you may be in the mood for a Cuban sandwich, while the other prefers arepas. Yes, you can find it all outside MARTE San Salvador.

And there’s a shaded spot nearby where you can take your art and street food to go. The perfect lunch date in San Salvador.

Patricia Trigueros is a free spirit, writer, and translator from El Salvador. She has the habit of drinking too much coffee and writing in English, French, and Spanish. Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Patricia Trigueros

Patricia Trigueros

Patricia is a free spirit, writer, and translator from El Salvador. Has the habit of drinking too much coffee and writing in English, French, and Spanish. She works as a freelance consultant. Studied French Literature in l'Université de Bordeaux and Integrated Marketing Communications in Escuela de Comunicación Mónica Herrera. When not traveling, she lives in San Salvador, El Salvador.