Tamales - California

It was! I seem to recall using duck fat in the masa, but also learning the importance of making sure your husks were clean :pleading_face:.

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Talking with many people I often get the impression that tamales are just a vehicle to eat large amounts of salsa

Some people are more moderate than I, but, yes, I love masa drenched in two salsas and crema.

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Sort of like some hot dogs are really a vehicle to eat kraut, onions, relish, mustard and ketchup.


Not sure I’ve found any standout tamales yet. Last time I had tamales were Artesano Tamaleria on Santee (DTLA), pretty good texture but I didn’t love the mushroom filling in one of them. I should give them another try, but I’ll check recommendations in this thread.

With that said, I do enjoy the salsas from El Machete.

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@BradFord - nice call with El Machete. Gorgeous colors and fresh looking food.


All Stars Tamales sets up at the Alemany Saturday farmer’s market. Both traditional and modern combinations. Last noticed, $2.75, 2/$5.

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That looks great! love the 2 salsas that way.

The one at the BH farmer’s market is Me Gusta Gourmet (megustagourmettamales.com)

I wanna say that they are 4 bucks a pop however (B to the F’n H). Their green sauce is tomatillo.

Me Gusta is at a ton of other farmer’s markets in LA…no lard is obviously a plus for the vegetarians in my family (probably a minus for others but i don’t miss it.)

There’s a tamale stand in Berkeley at the corner of Gilman and San Pablo, closed on Sundays. They are large with generous fillings.


In Silicon Valley, the tamales from California Street Market in Mountain View are a must-try. It’s a small bodega at California St and Mariposa, about a half-mile from downtown. The chicken (green sauce) and pork (red sauce) ones are both awesome (the plain cheese one is pretty dry – though I admittedly haven’t sauced it up as recommended here!). The tamales are locally made/un-branded, in crockpots/steam trays. The store also has locally made tortillas, salsa, crema, mexican pastries, paletas, etc., Mexican and Central American. And Acme bread and good beer.


Thanks for the recommendation - that sounds very interesting

Me Gusta tamales makes their way to multiple Farmer’s markets throughout the region. They are $4 each and HUGE! But I find the masa to protein ratio uneven and the masa is only okay for me…it could be seasoned a touch more and a little less dense.

We get tamales from Sandra’s close to the Citadel on Whittier Blvd. Call ahead to ensure yourself of your order. While you’re in the neighborhood, drop by Birrieria Gonzalez, Mariscos El Bigaton, and if late enough in the day Churros Don Abel.

Our favorite tamales come from La Flor de Yucatán. The colado tamales are light, airy, fluffy and seasoned so well! One tamal is more than enough to fill you up. Also try their vaporcito tamales and their pibil. Pro tip: reheat the colado at home by pan-searing to get crispy edges…top with a fried egg if you’re looking for brunch.


i am actually with you. i can list places that i have heard have good tamales, and i give nothing objectionable about them, and kinda like them, but never had anything transcendant enough to put on the top 100 food list.

Those of you who like a good tamale, what makes it so good?

It’s been a while but did a shootout a number of years ago and La Indiana in East LA came out tops for me