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Nov 19, 1998 10:27 AM

Street Food -- Tamales

  • j

If you happen to be in Jackson Heights on a weeknight,
I think starting around 6 pm, be sure to try the
tamales that two women are selling from a shopping cart
in front of the Roosevelt subway station.

The cart is immediately to the right (facing the
street) of the main entrance on Roosevelt, in between
74th and 75th. Unlike much street food in the area,
these tamales are steaming hot -- they have a charcoal
fire in the shopping cart under the pot of tamales.
There are two varieties available; I don't speak
Spanish, so I don't know what they are. I just ate what
she handed to me, and went away happy.

I think if you want to sample, you should make a point
of going sometime soon -- that charcoal fire in the
bottom of the cart seems like an open invitation for
someone in the city government to shut them down.

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  1. Stay away from the tamale lady on Roosevelt and
    Junction; her tamales are dry and flavorless, and
    scarcely even warm.

    1. Well, I don't know quite what to say... The Tamale Lady
      is still there (just one woman now); but an impostor
      has set up another cart selling markedly inferior
      tamales, _right_ _next_ to her! So now I'm worried
      about telling people to go try the tamales from the
      cart right outside the 74th Street station -- cause
      what if they get the wrong ones?

      So if you go there, eat a tamale, and it is not
      magical, that just means you went to the wrong cart.
      There are usually two carts there, about 10 feet apart;
      the *real* Tamale Lady is on the right as you face the
      street. But on some days, one or the other of them is
      not there; so there's no way to guarantee success --

      Oh, also, the hole-in-the-wall called (I think) El
      Rancho Chunchurria, just down the block from there,
      looked last week like it had gone out of business; but
      as of yesterday it was open again. They make excellent
      arepas which they serve with various grilled meat.

      1. you want tamales? get off the #7 train at the 46th St/
        Bliss station in Sunnyside and walk south on 46Th
        Street (the side with the Welcome to Sunnyside Arch).
        Outside the liquor store on the right hand side, before
        Greenpoint Ave., are a Mexican and Ecuadorian woman
        selling tamales. One buck for the Mexican tamales -
        chicken, spicy, mole; two bucks for the Ecuadorian

        1. Great tamales are to be found in Inwood, at the end of
          A line in Manhattan. There is a little Mexican
          grocery store on 207th, between Broadway and Cooper.
          They are amazing. And one can only buy them on
          weekends in the morning. But if you can get there on
          Saturday after 8:30 am, it is all worth it.