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Nov 19, 2006 02:34 AM

South Jersey or Philly-area: I'm looking for precooked tamales or prepared masa

Does anyone know where I might find precooked, heat-and-eat tamales?

I moved back here recently after six years in Arizona, where such bags of tamales were available fresh and frozen in Hispanic food markets. I'm not sure where any of the Hispanic markets are here, or if there is an area that caters more to Mexicans than, say, Puerto Ricans or Cubans.

Costco has prepared pork tamales for about $14/dozen, but I'm dubious about their quality. I'd like to find a mom-and-pop shop that makes them fresh to steam at home, or even a little old lady who sells them at a farmers market or something.

I think restaurant takeout would be too expensive for the quantity I'd want to buy (2 or 3 dozen). Ideally, I'd like the GREEN CORN version popular around the holidays.

If not, how about anywhere that sells the bags of prepared masa dough to make your own. I have no time or desire to make masa from mesa. Maybe someday...


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  1. Although not in Center City, there is a huge Mexican population around the mushroom farms in Avondale in Chester County. Go to El Sombrero and there's a Mexican grocery store that has them. Also, I would check the Mexican groceries in Norristown in Montgomery County where there's also a large Mexican population.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Den

      Den, any tex mex luck in charlotte?

    2. You can buy wonderful tamales at Las Lomas Mini mart and Panaderia at 1167 9th Phila. Phone 215 551 1808. Call to find out when they make them. I asked if I could place a bulk order for a party and they said absolutely. I like their red tamales, you won't find the green corn ones here I'm afraid. They freeze perfectly, I have a freezer full right now.They are $1 a piece.

      1 Reply
      1. re: missclaudy

        The above address should read 1167 S. 9th St.

      2. A couple of other suggestions: The tortilleria in Norristown on Chain Street, near Marshall, has prepared masa. Also in Norristown, some of the Mexican groceries on Marshall have good tamales, at least on weekends. In South Jersey, you could try the groceries around the area in Camden where 27th, Westfield, and Federal meet. I'd bet some of them have decent tamales, again perhaps only on weekends. Or maybe try the vendors at the soccer fields in the park near 29th and Harrison in Camden.

        1. In the past, I've heard mention of a woman who sold tamales on the street in South Philly. Anyone know about this? Is she still there?

          My favorite tamales are in the bakery/restaurant on the south side of W. Marshall, either the block past Chain St. or the next. At least four varieties wrapped in two different types of leaves. Delicious! I believe they're $2, and well worth it, but I believe they may wholesale their baked goods, so maybe you can order a quantity and get a break.

          1 Reply
          1. re: photorc

            There's a woman who sells them on 9th Street, at the corner of the alley just above Washington. I had them once and wasn't too impressed. Rather dry and the meat filling didn't have much flavor. The ones on Marshall were much better.

          2. Just a thought about Costco. I'm always amazed by their consistent quality. Why not give the pork tamales a try?