My family used to have a tradition of having traditional tamales on Christmas Eve that were shipped in from Texas. (This tradition happened down in the US as my parents were originally from Dallas). I'm going to attempt to carry this over up here and have heard they can be found in Kensington Market. I don't have time to do a taste test but looking for some solid traditional beef or pork tamales. Anyone have a favourite tamale goto place they can rec? Thanks very much for any help!
The tamales are fine at Emporium Latino and they are fine at Perola as well (in fact a Oaxacan tamal I ate once at Perola's weekend taco stand may have been the best tamal I have eaten in Canada), although I don't know if you can purchase Perola's tamales in quantity. I mean no disrespect to these places as I love all of our local latino markets and I'm thankful to be able to purchase prepared tamales at all.
This said, none of them are truly amazing. If you just want tamales and don't care about that, by all means purchase them. I don't know what the tamales are like in Texas, but if your heart is set on outstanding special occasion-worthy tamales, you must make them yourself. In my family we often buy tamales from local shops, but for special occasions like Candelaria, we make them ourselves. We always aim to make extra but they never last. Frankly though, we are not happy even with our own homemade tamales because of the quality of the masa here and this year we are going to attempt making our own.
Thanks for all the suggestions. The idea is to have something fairly easy put together on Xmas eve and share an old family tradition with my partner who has very limited tamale experience. Because of schedule and travels tracking down ingredients and preparing them myself is not possible.
I'm not picky with tamales as long as they are not falling apart and the meat quality is solid. Everyone has their own take on what the spicing should be which is part of the excitement of trying a new tamale. Emporio Latinho sounds like exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks again everyone!
A big huge thanks again to everyone for the help with this. Emporio Latino worked out great. The south american style tamale is very different from what I'm used to from Texas but very good in their own way.
The ones from Texas were about half the size, in a corn husk, and were limited to a single highly spiced meat, and occasionally bean and cheese. For a meal I could easily mpw through about a half dozen of them.
Emporio Latino's were a bit bland on the seasoning but had more going on with vegetables and chiles which added some interesting flavours. They are huge and was stuffed after 3 of them. Also I think they are wrapped in a banana leaf. Regardless they were very tasty and EL will be my go to spot for for tamales for now. I was a bit confused by the set up and how to prepare these and the woman in the kitchen was super helpful in talking me through it and explaining the different tamales they had. I look forward to checking out the other food they have to offer.