Jan 16, 2010, 3:15 PM
Post #1 of 10
...is always better.
Chiapanecos are justly famed for their tamales and, as I have posted before, Saturday night is tamal night in San Cristobal de Las Casas as many women all over the city hang red lanterns in front of their houses signifiying that the family living therein has, normally as a family project, prepared tamales for sale to the general public. These tamales can be truly excellent and, over time, one finds a favorite vendor. Ours is down the street from our home in the El Cerrillo Barrio and it is fun to enter the vendors home and find that the tamales and some other accompaniments are prepared with the participation of the kids who delight in the task.
The tamal vendor we prefer usually sells three types of tamales. Asafran, (Chiapas) mole and bola. Asafran and mole tamales come wrapped in banana leaves and the bola is wrapped in corn husks and is much larger and more challenging to consume. Asafran tamales infer the use of fresh turmeric root commonly found in indigenous markets around here (as opposed to saffron) and are my favorites. The mole tamales are also excellent when done well as does our favorite vendor. These tamales come with both chicken and pork fillings. Fine stuff accompanied by some ice cold XX Lager or Tecate cervesa from ones own fridge.
If you are down here and staying in a hotel, that is OK as well. Take your tamales back to your hotel room purchased from a neighborhood vendor recommended by hotel management and buy your beer on the way back to your room from a local tienda.
I must admit that we also enjoy tamales when at home in Ajijic prepared by Zapoteco friends from Oaxaca. The mole in their tamales is a bit different but equally sublime.
When I was a kid in Alabama, Tamales came in a can from Hormel and bore no resemblance to the supurb homemade tamales of Chiapas, Oaxaca and other parts of Mexico. My mama, bless her, served us those Hormel canned tamales every Thursday night for years. She should not have doine that but I am in recovery, thank God.
(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jan 16, 2010, 3:24 PM)