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Delia's Specializing in Tamales
Delia's Specializing in Tamales
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Best tamales in San Antonio

No matter where you go in San Antonio, you're sure to find some delicious tamales. With so many great options to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect tamale to satisfy your craving.

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Chris Arce likes, "Rubens Tamales is the best and has been around for over 30 years!"

“Adelita’s or Tellez,” says JennEddie's Foods Trailer.

Michelle Samuel Boucher Ramirez says, "My house!!"

"Delicias Regias in Castroville! Hands down! She’s taking orders right now! They are HUGE. The masa and filling are equally portioned so you are getting your moneys worth! They are so big when I first bought some, my one dozen looked like she wrapped two dozen together - lol" commented Kelly Luna.

C Rob Von votes for, "La Grande on Castroville Street."

Mario Zuniga likes, "La Victoria on Division and 35."

“The proper answer is on the street corner,” commented Chris Rosas.

And Quincy Clark Sr. replied, “Yes! The lady that has them in an Igloo cooler.”

"Tellez Tamales & Barbacoa Factory," says Gabriel Perez.

Adelia Deleon spilt her vote, "Tamale Boy and Ruben tamales in the southeast side of town."

Here are some of the best tamale shops in San Antonio:

Delia's Specializing in Tamales: This local chain has been serving up freshly steamed tamales and salsa in a casual setting since 1992. They have a wide variety of tamales to choose from, including pork, chicken, beef, and vegetarian options.

Ruben's Homemade Tamales: This East Side establishment has been a San Antonio institution since 1952. They are known for their delicious pork tamales, which are made with a family recipe that has been passed down for generations.

Adelita Tamales & Tortilla Factory: This shop on Fresno Street near Interstate 10 specializes in tortillas, but they also make some of the best tamales in town. Their tamales are made with fresh, local ingredients and are always cooked to perfection.

Tellez Tamales & Barbacoa:This family-owned business has been making tamales since 1975. They are known for their fiery jalapeño and pork tamales, as well as their barbacoa and menudo.

La Victoria Tortillas and Tamales Factory: This shop is a hot spot for Sunday morning barbacoa and Big Red. They also come through with tamales by the dozen. Be sure to order ahead to avoid a wait!

What makes for a good tamale?

A good tamale is a symphony of flavors and textures, combining the savory richness of the filling with the delicate lightness of the masa. Here are the key elements that make for a truly exceptional tamale:

Quality Ingredients: The foundation of a good tamale lies in the quality of its ingredients. Use fresh, flavorful masa harina, preferably nixtamalized to enhance its corniness and nutritional value. For the filling, choose high-quality meats, vegetables, or beans, seasoned with a well-balanced blend of spices and aromatics.

Fluffy Masa: The masa dough should be perfectly hydrated and smooth, with a slightly airy texture that allows it to encase the filling without becoming too dry or heavy. Use a combination of lard or vegetable shortening for added richness and a hint of flavor.

Flavorful Filling: The filling is what brings the tamale to life. Choose a filling that suits your taste, whether it's classic pork or chicken tamales, or more adventurous options like mole, rajas con queso, or vegetarian tamales. Ensure the filling is well-seasoned and has a balance of flavors, from savory to spicy to slightly sweet.

Proper Wrapping: The way the tamale is wrapped is crucial to its overall quality. Use fresh, pliable corn husks that are slightly moistened to prevent cracking. The filling should be evenly distributed, and the tamales should be tightly wrapped to prevent the masa from drying out during steaming.

Steaming Perfection: Steaming is the method that brings the tamale to its final stage of perfection. Steam the tamales long enough to allow the masa to fully cook and absorb the flavors of the filling, but not so long that they become mushy or overcooked.

Consistency of Texture: A good tamale should have a harmonious balance of textures. The masa should be tender and slightly chewy, while the filling should be tender and flavorful. The wrapping should be sturdy enough to hold the filling together without being too thick or overpowering the delicate flavors.

Temperature and Presentation: Serve the tamales warm, allowing them to release their enticing aroma. Traditionally, they are served with a drizzle of salsa, crema, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro or onions. The presentation should be inviting and complement the rustic charm of the tamales.

Why do San Antonians love tamales?

San Antonians have a deep-seated love for tamales for several reasons:

Cultural Significance: Tamales have been a staple of Mexican cuisine for centuries, and they hold a special place in San Antonio's culinary heritage. The city's rich history of Mexican immigration has contributed to the widespread popularity of tamales, and they are often enjoyed during holidays, family gatherings, and special occasions.

Flavor and Variety: Tamales are packed with flavor, and the variety of fillings available caters to a wide range of tastes. From classic pork, chicken, and beef tamales to more adventurous options like rajas con queso (cheese and peppers) and mole, there's a tamale to satisfy every palate.

Time-Honored Tradition: Making tamales is a time-honored tradition that has been passed down through generations of San Antonio families. The process of gathering ingredients, preparing the masa, filling, and wrapping the tamales is often seen as a communal bonding experience, bringing families and friends together to create a delicious meal.

Festive Atmosphere: Tamales are often associated with festive occasions and celebrations in San Antonio. They are a popular dish during Christmas, New Year's Eve, and other holidays, and they are often enjoyed at parties, picnics, and community events.

Iconic Status: Tamales have become synonymous with San Antonio's culinary identity. They are featured in local restaurants, specialty shops, and even grocery stores, and they are often the subject of food festivals and competitions.