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Nov 20, 2008 07:28 AM

Where to buy tamales by the dozen in Boston area?

I'm from a border town in South Texas, transported to the frozen north. With Christmas around the corner, my mind has naturally turned to thoughts of tamales. Does anyone here know of a place I could buy some good tamales by the dozen? Sort of Mexican/Border style tamales - I've had other versions and they're good, but not the same.

I'm really not necessarily thinking of restaurants that sell them. When I lived in Chicago, the place to get them was from the people who wandered around selling them in the Sam's Club parking lot... Although I'd be willing to try a restaurant if it came highly recommended. Thanks!

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  1. As a fellow Texan, I'm afraid that unless something has changed in the last year or so, the answer is "Via the US Postal Service."

    1 Reply
    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

      There are multiple tamale delivery options via USPS. You can get your local ones mailed to you (make sure they are frozen as fast as possible). Or you can order a large variety online. I have had, and enjoyed, the red chile with pork and the green chile chicken ones from Santa Fe ( I've never eaten but am curious about Pasquale's ( despite the weirdness of italians in arkansas selling mail order tamales...or maybe because of it.

      Tacos Lupita in Somerville (see elsewhere on this board) has very corn-y tamales with chunks of meat. I don't like them as much as the other food there. There are also latino groceries in Eastie and there's one on Center St. (the Hi-Lo) in Jamaica Plain that has a huge selection of tortillas and arepas. I got some nice purple corn tortillas there a few weeks ago and I'll check on the tamale situation there next time.

      Warning on my taste: I come from Texan stock, though my own intro to tamales came from the street vendors in New Orleans who used to sell them along with newspapers in front of the old K&B drugstores. I love border tex-mex as well as the varietal "authentic" mexican cuisines, but my first love is new mexico style, so that biases me towards the santa fe tamale.

    2. I don't know of any place either. My wife is from San Antonio, so everytime we go to San Antonio, we bring back tamales, tortillas, and certain spices.

      1. There definitely are individuals who make and sell tamales (Salvadoran and Guatemalan are most common in my experience). You can find them churches (sometimes sold for fundraisers and in the parking lot outside larger masses), sometimes they are sold at soccer games (pupusas more common), but for border style you are probably stuck with USPS.

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          1. Angela's in East Boston has TAMALES! she makes them by hand.
            Angela's Cafe 131 Lexington Street, East Boston, MA 02128
            (617) 567-4972

            1. re: biggie_eater2008

              This is good to know -- and I'm sure they're amazing -- but fair warning: they're not likely to be the Texas border style the OP is asking about. Angela stays close to her Puebla roots.

          2. Another displaced texan here.
            I know this isn't your question, but I gave up on finding them up here and so I started making them myself.
            I used this recipe
            The site is a graphically bit much, but the recipe is well tested and although it's a lot of work they were really really good. Plus, I think that the reason Tamales became associated with Christmas is that it's a great way to get family and friends together to talk and wrap tamales.
            The hardest part was finding the corn husks in Boston- I had to go several places. I found them at Harvest in Central one year, and WF another year, but even some hispanic markets don't regularly carry them.
            Good luck whether you make them or buy them.