The tamales is a traditional dish made of starchy dough called masa. It is then boiled or steamed with banana leaves to wrap it. The inside of a tamales is filled with different kinds of meat, chili, vegetables and cheese and preparation varies depending on the recipe.
Tamales is a staple in every Mexican home and is a lot similar to sandwiches in the Western world. The Mayans and the Aztecs were originally said to have tamales as their food and these were served for their hunters and travellers.
Today though, the tamales is sort of a comfort food that can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner or even in between meals. And for everyday foods, they’re also very much found in the dining table during Mexican celebrations like Christmas, Day of the Dead and Independence Day.
If you happen to be in Playa del Carmen, head to Tamales Flor de Lis, which is said to have the best tamales you can find in Mexico. The establishment is a fixture in the country, having existed since 1926 and since then, the flavor and food has not changed all that much. They offer quite a selection of tamales with the traditional red and green mole. But they also offer 12 more flavors, including a sweet selection that has pineapple and corn in it.
Visit Calle 38 and Calle 40 in the late afternoon, and you will find this lady who sets up her shop by the street serving tamales for cheap. It’s homemade, thus quite good, and she offers at least six different selections including the classic verde mole.
Pozoleria Doña Olga offers a different kind of tamales in which they serve this with chicken. It’s especially good for those who aren’t into pork or beef meat and the taste is quite lipsmacking!