It’s officially the holiday season and, for many, that means time for tamales.
The history of the tamale dates back to Mesoamerica, where this ancient dish was considered to be sacred by the indigenous peoples of Mexico and other countries in the region.
In modern times, the tamale has become a holiday dinner staple. Whether this delicious masa-based dish makes its appearance on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, or any other holiday dinner is totally up to an individual’s family tradition. But, since we don’t always have the time to make our own from scratch, there are plenty of spots around L.A. that will set you up with all the to-go tamales your celebration requires.
If you’re looking for some authentic Oaxacan tamales, or really any dish from the southwestern state of Mexico, then Guelaguetza in Koreatown is your best bet. This brightly painted restaurant opened up about 25 years ago. Guelaguetza is best known for their mole, and offers a black mole chicken tamale we love. Or mix it up with the chicken tamale with jalapeños and roasted tomatoes, or a sweet tamale. Online ordering available. 3014 W. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90006
Gracias Madre has vegan options to fulfill your cravings. The meatless Mexican restaurant is offering sweet and savory tamales. The sweet version are filled with guava and cinnamon filling, while the savory ones are stuffed with jackfruit carnitas, purslane, and green sauce. Gracias Madre is taking pre-orders now until December 22. Online ordering available. 8905 Melrose Avenue West Hollywood, CA 90069
For over 65 years, La Mascota Bakery in Boyle Heights has been proudly serving the community with pan dulce and other sweet treats, coffee, menudo, and of course, tamales. From pork to a newly created plant-based option, this bakery provides 13 different types of tamale flavors to satisfy your masa hunger. 2715 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90023
Since opening its doors in 1977, La Moderna Bakery has been selling great food to the residents of Whittier. Owners Martha and Guillermo Chaves can hook you up with all sorts of yummy, traditional Mexican foods; the bakery sells pan dulce or Mexican sweet bread, chicharrones, menudo, as well as other speciality treats. From red pork to sweet flavored tamales, customers can choose from six different types of the masa-based delicacy. 8035 1/2 Norwalk Blvd. Whittier, CA 90606
Valley dwellers: Pop on over to the family-owned Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales, which only specializes in tamales. This restaurant prides itself on making tamales that use the finest ingredients and having an original tamale recipe from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales has eight distinct flavors of tamales, including strawberry, cheese, and pineapple. 13752 Van Nuys Blvd, Pacoima, CA. 91331
Tamales Alberto has come a long way, since the days of selling their goods from the back of a local bakery. The small business has established itself as a producer of delicious tamales with a loyal customer following. The L.A.-based business sells eight different types of tamales, including cheese and jalapeño, meat, sweet, vegetarian, and even a vegan option. Online ordering available. 1644 W Temple St, Los Angeles CA 90026
Located in the Mercado la Paloma in DTLA, this small restaurant specializes in Yucatecan food and serves three different tamales, two steamed and one baked. The steamed tamales come filled with either achiote seasoned chicken or vegetables. The baked tamale has a crunchy texture and is filled with achiote seasoned chicken, hard-cooked eggs, sliced tomatoes, and epazote. 3655 S Grand Ave C6, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Maria’s Bakery located in El Monte provides Angelenos with fresh pastries and four different types of tamales: red pork, green pork, cheese, and sweet. This hole in the wall opens at 5 a.m., with lines forming well before it opens. The tamales do sell out, so we suggest getting there as early as possible. 4743 Peck Rd El Monte, CA 91732
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