Where to Buy Tamales in Orange County for the Holidays, 2014 Edition

Categories: Mexi Meals

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This is hilarious. Every year around this time, I get asked where to buy the best tamales in Orange County.

Really, the answers rarely change. Below is the article on the subject I did last year, which itself is mostly a retread of a story I did back in 2007. This time around, a shout-out to the awesome tamales de calabaza over at Taco Maria, as well. And don't bother with El Toro Meat Market's grease pools of masa. Anyhoo, enjoy the recap! And, yes, Virginia: Mexis eat tamales for Thanksgiving, too!

ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 14, 2011: Because nothing exists on the Internet before three days ago, I'm reprinting a 2009 article I did on the best tamales in Orange County for the holidays--and I'm also ripping off a 2007 article I did on the same
subject. I will also note that Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen and Taco María
make great high-falutin' tamales, as well. Anyhoo, the retread!

Almost three years ago, I wrote up this round-up
of the county's best places to get tamales. Rivera's is unfortunately
closed, and I still don't understand why Central and South Americans
prepare tamales (with the exception of Nicaraguans and the Guatemalan
pache), but the review still holds true. But other places have emerged
over the years that belong on the list--let's first start, however, with
the stand-bys:

Sarinana's Tamale Factory

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Orange County's oldest Mexican restaurant, with an emphasis on what its name says. The perfect pork tamale: stringy, firm masa, slightly red, a bit spicy. 2218 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana, (714) 558-8650.

*El Fortín

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Not a tamale, but you get the picture...

Sellers of the King of the Tamale Kingdom: the mole negro tamal, a brick of soft masa wrapped in a banana leaf and made with chocolate. Not the sweet you'd imagine, but a sweetness for the ages, a bittersweet paste that will stain your fingertips so deeply even a thousand licks won't make it go away--and you don't want that, anyway. 700 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 773-4290; also at 10444 Dale Ave., Stanton, (714) 252-9120; www.restaurantelfortin.com

*Las Brisas de Apatzingan

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Michoacán-style restaurant that sells the tamales your pocho co-workers bring in for the staff potluck, but don't order those. Stick with the huchepo, a small tamale prepared with corn masa so fresh it contains kernels, topped with Mexican sour cream, sweet cheese and a delicious green salsa. Only place in la naranja that sells them. 1524 S. Flower St., SanTana, (714) 545-5584.


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39 comments
Susan Mesa
Susan Mesa

Lilliana's in east LA...WORTH THE DRIVE!!!!

Fleoo Calavera
Fleoo Calavera

C'mon you lazy pochos the only way to gert the tamale you want IS TO MAKE IT YOURSELF!!!

Fleoo Calavera
Fleoo Calavera

Yep Flaco is absolutely reight, real mexicans know that!

Yesenia Abundis
Yesenia Abundis

I've never had sarinanas tamales but I'm glad to have seen them mentioned in a thread like this finally! Reyna in Anaheim had the best masa for tamales for sure, though!

Adrienne Arana
Adrienne Arana

99% of tamales I've ever bought have been mediocre at best. People really don't know what they're doing. I'll stick to my family's and skip the disappointment. Masa de tamales should not be hard and tough! Ever!

Jim Alvarez
Jim Alvarez

This coming weekend they are having the Tamale Festival in Indio, CA and never in my life thought people would be paying up to $45.00 for a dozen and all the judges are all Gringos. What a rip off. We just got back from El Paso and bought 5 dozen for $11.50 each and made with Hatch Chilli. So good in the morning on the grill with the corn husk and then you open them and fry a couple of eggs and beans.

Daniel Adrian Badillo
Daniel Adrian Badillo

Damm tamales tiene un chingo de years que no Como uno ,en Miami alguien save done puedo conseguir unos Buenos tamales , Sera que son ilegales x que no we consiguen x ningun lado lol

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith

I get my tamales out of the trunk of a car in the Santa Ana Walmart parking lot

Cyn Rodriguez-Q
Cyn Rodriguez-Q

Ok, so how about "where to buy Mexican tamales in Tampa". Anyone? Anyone?

Caritina Lopez
Caritina Lopez

We make the best tamales in oc.your Abuelita y your mom..Vanessa Tucker..

Alfredo Carrasco
Alfredo Carrasco

Tamales de dulce are my favorite! Hard to find lucky I have a tia that can make some like abulita!

Eddie Gomez
Eddie Gomez

We need real Mexican tamales in Arlington, Va..

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

I need one of these articles for Phoenix.

Elva Picon
Elva Picon

How about the best Tamales in Pico Rivera or East L.A ??

Lau Ra
Lau Ra

La Poblana Bakery by the Orange circle.

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

I make my own but sometimes I buy em from the lady in front of El Gallo Giro ;)

Gary Summers
Gary Summers

The Hormel tamales in the can are bomb!!!.............. Just kiddin! If your in the IE La Fuente bakery in Berdoo has tamales like abulita used to make.

Jamal Cooper
Jamal Cooper

John Hald so you tellN me you have NO Mexican/Hispanic friends?

andrewmacia
andrewmacia

You forgot to mention the bomb ass tamales you get in the Walmart parking lot!

Felipe Gamboa
Felipe Gamboa

^ Yeah they rip you off and hardly put any meat into it.

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