Candlemas, February 2, is approaching and if you were the lucky one who got the baby Jesus in the rosca de Reyes, you know it’s your duty to provide the tamales. So why not get creative with it? How about a tamale with grasshoppers? Or huitlacoche with goat cheese? Sweet raisin with a touch of strawberry? And to drink, a hot chocolate with a shot of mezcal? So you can be the very best host of this year’s tamaliza (as the event of eating and sharing tamales with family is known), we give you a list of places to find some of the best tamales in Mexico City.
If you want to surprise your guests with some flavors from other parts of Mexico, Tamalería Nativitas is there for you. This family business, founded in 1999 and run by Doña Beatriz Gómez, who is originally from southern Mexico, is well known not only among area locals, but has also been frequented by government ministers, senators, and even ambassadors.
Some of the highlights from its artisan menu are the Chiapas-style chipilín tamale, wrapped in banana leaf with a touch of chipilín leaf, homemade tomato sauce with chile de árbol and fresh Chiapaneco cheese, or the Veracruz tamale, with red salsa, hoja santa, and pork loin. One of the most beloved is the tamale from Chiapa de Corzo, made with fried plantain, chicken breast, boiled egg, olives, almonds, and prunes, bathed in homemade mole. There is also the famous Oaxacan with chicken and almond mole.
There are even a few gourmet tamales, including one with blackberry compote, or the popular Rosita Nativitas, made with raisins and a touch of strawberry. Accompany the homemade flavors of Tamalería Nativitas with their atole de cajeta – a blend of evaporated milk, cajeta, and a touch of piloncillo. Prices range from 20 to 35 pesos per tamale, and you can order in person or by phone.
Don Luis 24-1, Conjunto Urbano Tlalpan, Benito Juárez
T. 55 5532 8687
Verónica Mendoza, better known as Doña Vero, started out with a borrowed comal on a street corner. Today, the business that bears her name has been named within the Mexican gastronomy world as one of the best tamale vendors in the city. Every year, Doña Vero goes beyond the conventional and, for Candlemas, she offers her famous “exotic tamalizas.”
Why not buck convention and be a little daring with the flavors this year. Doña Vero offers a variety of sweet tamales like the pine nut one or her Oaxacan chocolate tamale with chocolate chips. For savory options, try the grasshoppers with cheese and strips of chile manzano or her famous pastor. The café de olla spiced with piloncillo, anise, and cinnamon makes for a warming companion to the tamales, but if you need a tipple, try the chocomezcal oaxaqueño, made with Oaxacan chocolate and mezcal. Prices range from 38 to 50 pesos per tamale.
Monterrey 313, Roma Sur, Cuauhtémoc
T. 55 5264 1542
Being vegan or vegetarian doesn’t mean sacrificing the tamaliza thanks to Vegetal, the first vegan “butcher shop” in CDMX. For 9 years, they have been dedicated to making specialty tamales and coming to the rescue of vegans and vegetarians who end up with the baby Jesus.
Vegetal offers a variety of savory tamales such as the one made of hoja santa with a chile stuffed with cheese, beans with mole and cheese, or vegan pork rinds and mushrooms in green sauce. On the sweet side, you’ll find amaranth with almond, blackberry with farmer’s cheese, or cocoa with hazelnut. The tamales are 30 pesos each.
Manzanillo 22B, Roma Norte, Cuauhtémoc
T. 55 2580 3552
Tamales Doña Emi
With more than 20 years of tradition, Tamales Doña Emi is a must stop for anyone, anytime of the year, but especially on February 2. Run by the legendary Doña Emilia Galván Sánchez, who started out with her white wooden cart, you’ll find over 20 delicious flavors of tamales, from traditional to specials to sweet ones.
Some of the most popular are the green salsa with pork, mole with chicken, peppers with cheese, mushrooms with pork, huitlacoche with goat cheese, and guava for dessert. To drink, we suggest the champurrado atole, blue corn atole, guava atole, tres leches atole or mango atole. Due to high demand, they won’t have delivery service available until February 12. The price ranges from 30 to 50 pesos. We recommend ordering in advance so you don’t miss out on your tamaliza.
Jalapa s/n esq. Tlaxcala, Roma Sur, Cuauhtémoc
T. 55 4535 0103