Tamales - California

Is there a more perfect comfort food?
Something easier and better to take out of freezer and enjoy in 2 minutes ?

Personally I like chile and cheese the best. This pork one will work. These are from local farmers market LA.

Which ones do u like the best ?


I have tried over the years different tamales from places with different flavors but to be honest I have yet to understand why some people are so exited about tamales - they don’t taste bad but also not really exciting (and some times a bit bland and dry. Perhaps I haven’t tried the “right” one, so if you have any recommendations in the Bay Area…

Check out Roosevelt or La Palma or others on 24th St in the Mission. Haven’t been there in a little while so bet some of the other hounds here have some more current hits.

Curious about https://www.donajisf.com/ haven’t been.

Good salsa is a plus. I like cheesy chile ones personally.

I adore corn bread and corn tortillas so this is part of that for me.

Give it another whirl. Dry bland tamales no bueno ! There are definitely too many bad tamales out there.


I love a good tamale. Donaji’s masa is good but I found their fillings a little bland. I really like El Molina Central’s tamales and always buy a pack to freeze when I go.

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You get El Molina at the embarcadero/ferry farmers market ? I’ve found some of the best ones are from spots like that and don’t sleep on church ladies !

What flavor u like best from Molina?

No, I didn’t know they sold them there, I grab them when I’m Sonoma. I like the chicken mole.

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I can’t do tamales other than during the holidays in December.

Check back in about 6 months.

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I thought the thread was about Tomales, California.

The tamales from Tomales fall mainly on the bay.


Oh yes I’ll put that on my calendar Lol - maybe you want to offer a suggestion now ?

By jove I think he’s got it!!


Several sellers at Laney College NorCal flea market on Sundays. Choice of Mexican or Salvadorian tamales, pork, chicken, green chile/cheese. Mild (green) or spicy (orange) salsas and crema as you wish. Pre-covid, they had huge jugs of salsas and crema on a service table, but now they are provided in personal use containers. Our usual 8:30 am breakfast.


Tamales are certainly edible straight out of the husks, but come into their own swimming in salsa and crema.

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As a kid, my family would head to Santa Cruz and Stubendorf’s Tamale Parlor. Huge, fooball shaped, husk covered, tied with strings at the ends. Created my standard.


I buy refrigerated tamales(chicken Del Real) freeze them in single portion bags and take them out, microwave them for 2 minutes and smother with refried beans.

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that’s tasty. @Tiakate @pilgrim I can really get down with a nice combo plate with a tamale, a relleno, maybe an enchilada, some refried beans covered in cheese and rice, a hard shell taco, some chips, salsa…is it happy hour yet? bedtime?

If you’re ever in Tucson check out the President (Bill Clinton) special at Mi Nidito which has a beef tamale and essentially one of everything!

Tres Hombres is kinda cool…


I like the one from Xenia’s bakery in San Pablo: https://goo.gl/maps/FqCQJgRgfyfTeMH98 I think the masa is moist and tasty (a bit too wet at times maybe). My wife prefers the tamales from La Palma, which I dont care for. In general I think the masa - filling ratio is way off for most tamales for my taste buds (too much masa)

as an aside, And in case u do goto Xenia’s the fish&chips at Hundal Sahib are quite good and one of our favorites (though the chips are quite awful, we substitute them for their fried veggies which are decent). I think Luke Tsai might have led me to the f&c place. The couple running it are super sweet

The Indian place spicy bite is not bad either. Their dosa is different and ok

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@dlobo - thanks for the tip on Xenia’s, I never would have known about that - X marks the spot.

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I like roast duck. Not sure if they are regularly available, but one year I made some with some roast duck from our local County Square Market. I like pork, and chiles and cheese, and the South American ones wrapped in plantain/ banana leaves with the olives too.


Bravo @shrinkrap, that sounds delish - a lot of places sell the masa for DIY too. I’m a better tamale eater!