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LOKKING FOR THE BEST HANDMADE TAMALES IN L.A.

i am on the hunt for our town's best tamale makers--any leads?

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  1. I think all the best tamales in LA are hand made.
    My favorite is Juanito's........one can make a meal $1.60 each.
    4214 E Floral Dr, Los Angeles

    1. I'm very fond of the Green Chili Cheese at Los Cinco Puntos.

      And the Red Chili Pork at La Indiana.

      10 Replies
      1. re: SilverlakeGirl

        Los Cinco Puntos green chile cheese are great.

        1. re: Burger Boy

          Only problem I have with Los Cinco Puntos is you have to buy a dozen at a time.

          1. re: monku

            Weird... I've been buying them for DECADES and have always been able to buy a few at a time...

              1. re: monku

                I always get 4 or 6 at a time. I have never bought a dozen, I might have even bought 2 at a time before.

                1. re: monku

                  I've almost always bought less than a dozen unless taking them home for the rest of the family. A few pork a few queso con chile verde.

                  1. re: JAB

                    Last week bought a dozen tortillas and pound of carnitas and the sign said a dozen were priced at $13 something....I thought I asked the guy if I could get get half dozen and I think he told me they're sold by the dozen and I could mix them anyway I wanted, so I bought a dozen.

                    1. re: monku

                      Herm... sounds like there was some sort of miscommunication on his part... Anyway, the good news is Tamales freeze well. :)

                      --Dommy!

                  2. re: monku

                    I've bought as few as four ... and I've been buying there for decades.

                    1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                      Only other thing I don't like is they always pack the stuff in a paper bag that's greasy by the time you get to your car.

              2. You are going to get a lot of different opinions about which tamales are “best” just because individual tastes vary. Here is what a couple friends and I did a few years ago and what I would recommend: Do your own taste test. We packed some cheeses, salsa, condiments, drinks and picnic supplies. Then we headed out to several different tamale places in the East L.A. area and bought two or three varieties from each one. They included La Mascota, Liliana's, Cinco Puntas, Juanito's, La Indiana and a couple others that I can't recall offhand. We held them all in an insulated container until we were ready to eat them. Our last stop was a picnic table at Hollenbeck Park where we tasted and compared the different tamales. The only clear agreement was that it was a fun afternoon. My own personal favorites were the red chile pork tamale from La Indiana and the green chile and cheese tamale from Cinco Puntos. YMMV.

                3 Replies
                  1. re: Sam D.

                    thanks so much to everyone!!!! great recommendations-- anymore suggestions out there?!

                    1. re: tmsjas

                      Probably the most consistant tamale offerings in the Westside for me would be Gallegos' Mexican Deli on Venice Blvld in Mar Vista. I think their most popular is their chicken verde. I for one almost always order it with my barbacoa burrito when I visit them.

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                      Gallegos Mexican Deli
                      12470 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                  2. Sundays Farmers Market in Rolling Hills has a great tamale stand. They are steaming hot and oh so delicious.

                    1. Tamara's tamales in Venice

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                      Tamara's Tamales
                      13352 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                      1. I live in the valley and am absolutely addicted to the corn tamales from the Gourmet Tamale Factory in San Fernando.
                        www.thegourmettamalefactory.com

                        1. Have to give a shout out to the Corn Maiden. They do farmer's markets and mail order. Where else are you going to find lobster tamales. They do not have all the flavors at all the markets, but they used to bring flavors by request to whichever market is close to you.
                          http://www.cornmaidenfoods.com/

                          1. Try Sandra & Lolita's Tamales in Whittier // or Tamales Lilianas on Cesar Chavez Blvd ELA

                            1. There is a place in Pacoima called Lenchita's. Great tamales, hand made, and almost as good as my ex-mother in law used to make. I tried to keep my mother in law as my split of the community because not only was she a lovely lady, but she cooked some of the best Mexican food this gring has ever eaten.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Hughlipton

                                Never had the tamales, but Lenchita's does probably have the best tortillas in town.

                              2. Every December the subject 'holiday tamales' comes up like clockwork. If the Search function decides to work for you it may be able to find the topics.
                                As an alternative, click through the place links on this list to find them:
                                http://www.chow.com/lists/3606/
                                Good hunting!

                                1. how does everyone feel about mama's? i have heard mixed things...

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: ronsilverado

                                    Love love LOVE Mama's... It's a great place to go for a sit down Tamale Meal.. We look forward to going again to one of their Tamale and Wine Tastings...

                                    That being said, they have a couple of winners, namely their Black Mole and their Nicaraguan tamale. Everything else, is rather 'meh' compared to the generations and thousands of Tamales behind the master Tamale makers in ELA. If you are looking for take away *wow!!* tamales I would go to some of the recs here (I'm partial to La Mascota and Cinco Puntos)

                                    1. re: Dommy

                                      this might be a stupid question, but is it safe to assume that they use lard in their tamales? and that everyplace mentioned here does?

                                      1. re: ronsilverado

                                        No Lard in Mama's Tamales Can't Vouch for the others.

                                        1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                          No lard at the farmers market in rolling hills.

                                      2. re: Dommy

                                        Hi Dommy!

                                        Is Mama's Tamales your recommended top Tamale in L.A.? :) And is it the one located at 2124 W 7th St., Los Angeles, CA 90057-4001? Thanks!

                                        1. re: exilekiss

                                          No, my favorite Tamale are the Chicken ones from La Mascota... their masa has amazing flavor... Then the pork ones by Cinco Puntos and then the Colados at La Flor de Yucatan...

                                          It took a lot of Tamale eatting to get that order down... ;)

                                          --Dommy!

                                          1. re: Dommy

                                            then there are the Tamales from the lady who comes down our street around 9 pm. Those are good.

                                            1. re: Dommy

                                              I had a pork tamal at Cinco Punto today.These are well made and tasty, with a perfect amount of filling. My first time having them here.

                                              There's a truck on Wilmington in Watts called Tamales Elena, michoacanos, near 110th St. Open daily 'til 2PM.Give these a try sometime, Dommy.

                                              The carnitas were OK, too at Cinco Puntos for certain cuts only, just not a fan of those thick EastLos/Pacoima tortillas.

                                              Thanks for the reminder.Happened to be driving by and thought about your tamales.

                                              1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                A Tamale truck!! Sounds great!! I love Michoacan tamales... but then again, I'm a sucker with anything with olives in it! :) There is this Chicken Roaster place on Garfield in Bell called Los Pollos, they make the BEST chicken tamales with olives in them... Hmmmm!!!

                                                --Dommy!

                                                1. re: Dommy

                                                  Are they Sinaloan? You can get things like that at Sinaloa's Bakery in South Gate. I'll check out Los Pollos.

                                      3. Bertha's Tamales on Saturdays at the Santa Monica farmers market at Pico and Cloverfield has great pork tamales. It's my favorite breakfast, slathered with lots of hot sauce. OK, so I'm a Visigoth!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: tarnmoor

                                          I quite like Bertha's Tamales. The masa is moist and the fillings flavorful, especially the jalapeno chicken.

                                          I wonder whether the determining factor in tamale quality is freshness rather than vendor. I've had tamales at almost all of the places listed in this thread, but have been disappointed in most b/c they were dry and dull. However, I noticed that the quality of the tamales at Garcia Bakery in Simi Valley (which I formerly frequented) varied wildly during the day. First thing in the morning, the tamales were devinely wonderful - hot, creamy and pudding-like - whereas if they sat for a few hours, they quickly lost that magic and became truly below average tamales, which I wouldn't recommend to anyone.

                                          So maybe timing is the key? Perhaps the reason I like Bertha's is that the serves freshly-made tamales at the farmer's market. I dunno. Need more research perhaps.

                                        2. simple but good - the tamales sold by the ladies at the JOn's parking lot 8th and Irolo in Koreatown.

                                          1. Josie's Place (takeout only)
                                            16616 S Normandie Ave
                                            Gardena, CA 90247

                                            Diana's Market (just up the street from josie's)
                                            16529 S Normandie Ave
                                            Gardena, CA 90247

                                            Burnt Tortilla
                                            1725 W Redondo Beach Blvd,
                                            Gardena, CA 90247

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: flylice2x

                                              Diana's, no kidding? Most items there look like they've been on the steam table all day.
                                              I'll give Josies a try next time I visit Dianas (great little market BTW).

                                              IMO Burnt Tortilla is pretty old school and boring; what did you like about their tamales?

                                            2. THE BEST TAMALES in LA (GREEN "spicy" OR RED PORK ONLY) are located at Maple & 27th just below downtown LA. There is a catch they are only available from 6am-7:45am. When all 30 doz are sold they leave and come back the next morning. There is always a line and they are large and $1.00 ea. The mother or son set up two large pots and sell out before 8am (south east corner).