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Nov 20, 2005 10:04 PM

Pineapple Tamales

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Hi All-

After reading a while ago about pineapple tamales from El Ojo de Agua taco truck, I went down to try them, and they don't seem to sell them. I haven't had any luck at finding them along International Blvd. in Oakland, and in fact, have gotten some hearty laughs of disbelief when I've asked where I could find them. Any ideas where I can get some (delicious ones)?

I feel like I could spend a month wandering up and down International, and still not sample all the amazing food it has to offer. Has anyone tried that new-looking rotisserie chicken place at 39th/International? It's almost across the street from Huarache Azteca.


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  1. j
    janet of reno

    In a few minutes I'll be posting a recommendation on the California board for some great pineapple tamales (and other types too!)...unfortunately, its a little far away to be considered Bay Area.....but if you're ever near Roseville, check it out!

    1. Try La Palm on 24th Street, SF...

      1. Here's my old post on pineapple tamales in Pescadero. Not a strong rec, and I don't know if they're still around.

        International is amazing, isn't it?


        6 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Thank you. My quest for the pineapple tamales has become somewhat obsessive. I ask wherever I go in Fruitvale. I asked the woman behind the counter at a panaderia near 40th/International on Sunday where I could get them, and she looked at me as if I were insane. Her coworker told me to try Huarache Azteca or Otaez, but we'd just been there, and they didn't have them. My boyfriend thinks I'm possessed. At this point, I don't even know if I really want to eat one- I just want to FIND one (in Oakland, I hardly ever leave its confines). The search will continue, and believe me, I'll report back!

          1. re: Ace

            El Ojo de Agua hasn't had pineapple tamales for years (unfortunately). For some reason tamales are usually made by a tamale specialist (who often also specializes in atole/champurrado -- some kind of mystical connection with masa), so check out the small vendors with carts.

            La Borinquena on 7th St (across from the court buildings) in downtown Oakland has sweet tamales. I don't remember if they're pineapple -- I do remember they had raisins.

            There's also a tamale stand on Foothill a block or two east of Fruitvale on the uphill side of the street -- you might want to check them out as well.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Thanks, Ruth. A new chapter in my obsessive quest... I asked the Chicano shuttle driver for my car repair place (we had a rather long drive together today) if he knew of anyplace to get tamales de pina. He said he doesn't know anyplace to buy them in Oakland, but his sister actually makes them and sells them (along with savory tamales) to various private customers periodically! He insisted I give him my number, and said he'd have her call me the next time she makes them, and I can try some. I smell success....

          2. re: Melanie Wong

            That Pescadero taqueria is still there -- I don't know if they still have pineapple tamales, though, since if I want to satisfy my sweet tooth I always head to Duarte's across the street for pie.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              As evidenced by my post at the top of the board on Duarte's, I found myself in Pescadero today. After picking up the pie, I walked across the street to check out the pineapple tamale action.

              Listed on the menu board as tamal dulce, I bought two for a buck a piece. I asked if they were available hot or cold. The cashier said they were cold now, and that's how I wanted 'em. She said to microwave for 3 minutes, but I much prefer to steam them so they don't get dried out like my previous sampling.

              Steaming one at home just now, this was much better than before. The tamal is good size and is basically pineapple-flavored masa. Bits of ground pineapple are blended into the masa. There's no filling. The masa had a good texture and the pineapple has a nice tart/sweet balance.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                ok, that's it: pie at Duarte's, pineapple tamales across the street, and crab down the road at the docks...the day off Friday with no plans, and this nice weather to boot..obviously it is time for a drive down the coast...

                Thanks for the posts!

          3. Your best bet to finding pineapple tamales is from the small stands (usually near taco trucks) that sell fresh cut long as you see vendors with lots of ice chests/coolers around their stand.