Tamales are good all throughout the year, but many people go in for buying them by the dozen for the Christmas holiday. Whether it’s your custom, it’s worth making it part of your traditions because tamales are delicious.
From unwrapping these works of art that take hours to prepare from their sturdy corn husks to topping them with your favorite salsa, the whole experience is wonderful. Sharing them with loved ones and whatnot can be nice, too.
Order yours, and once you pick them up, keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to heat them — in a pan on the stove top does just fine, though my friend Jesse Moreno Jr. (La Popular) says the best way is to steam them; or a traditional way is to heat them on a griddle and let the corn husk burn a little. That enhances the corn flavor and provides a nice aroma.
I asked around on this list — I myself have been a fan of La Popular long before I knew of Jesse — and I had responses such as "I only trust the ones my cousin makes, because she was raised with my mom and uses the same recipe." But there are plenty of places offering them by the dozen that can add to your holiday:
Jesse Moreno Sr. made tamales about 30 years ago for his wife, who was pregnant and desperately craving them. Since 1984, his La Popular Tamale House has been serving Mexican food in East Dallas, and it’s a go-to for ordering tamales by the dozen. They've even had vegan tamales since the late 1980s. Order by Dec. 13 by calling 214-824-7617. And be sure to get plenty of salsa.
4823 Bryan St. (Old East Dallas)
Luna’s is one of those names many of us have heard for years, which isn’t too surprising since it’s been around since 1924. It has tortillas and tacos, but it also has tamales worth ordering by the dozen. Luna’s will take your order by email at email@example.com or by calling 214-747-2661, and they recommend doing so by Dec. 22.
2225 Connector Drive (Northwest Dallas)
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This new Richardson storefront is just eight months into business. It has traditional tamales as well as others such as chicken and cheese. Their staff recommends ordering from them as soon as possible, but the last day to order for Christmas is Dec. 18. Call 972-685-6556.
2139 Buckingham Road, Richardson
You can find tamales in grocery stores such as Fiesta Mart or Whole Foods. Better yet, don’t be surprised to find someone selling them in the parking lot. My friend (who will only eat her cousin's tamales) says to look in the parking lots of places such as El Rancho and Fiesta. Example: Iris Midler (Chefs for Farmers) recently came across the “best tamales” she’s probably ever had at the Fiesta on West Jefferson Boulevard. If you’d rather not go to someone new, and you trust her judgment, you can order your tamales through Gabal at 469-655-8323.