These Tamales Are Like Warm Hugs, in Food Form

Four places to cop the mounds of masa we crave most

It’s not really Christmas without a couple dozen husks to unwrap. Here’s where to indulge your masa fantasies.

1. Tamal Oaxaqueño from Sabores Oaxaqueños

3337 1/2 West 8th Street, Koreatown

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Bound in fresh banana leaves before being gently steamed, chef Dominga Rodríguez’s handmade tamales are filled with shredded chicken and inky, bittersweet mole. They’re a highlight at one of the city’s most dedicated Oaxacan restaurants.

2. Lamb Neck Tamal from Broken Spanish 

1050 South Flower Street, Downtown

The famed tamales at Ray Garcia’s L.A.-inspired Mexican spot near the Staples Center are things of brawny beauty: fork-tender sections of steamed masa smothered in a hearty stew of spicy braised lamb and oyster mushrooms.

3. Pork Carnitas Tamale from Tallula’s

118 Entrada Drive, Santa Monica 

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At their sunny beachside cantina, Jeremy Fox and Saw Naing upgrade the humble corn husk creation by using organic heirloom masa from Masienda, roasted heritage pork, and a vibrant mole verde sauce, crowned with toasted almonds and crumbled queso fresco.

4. Tamales de Elote from Jaraguá

4493 Beverly Boulevard, East Hollywood

Sweet corn tamales are a favorite breakfast starch in El Salvador, which is why we’re grateful that Salvadoran standby Jaraguá decided to offer them all day long. Get them steamed or deep-fried, the latter paired with a decadent dollop of buttery crema Salvadoreña.

RELATED: First Bite: Tintorera Brings Mexican Seafood, and a Gorgeous Patio, to Silver Lake

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