Here in New York, tamales have never been as popular as their flattened, masa-made cousin the tortilla, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t standout versions of the dish to be found. A growing number of chefs are now making Mexican-style tamales by importing heirloom corn varieties from Mexico or engaging in the painstaking process of nixtamalization. The tamales those efforts produce come steamed in corn husks, drenched in salsa verde, stuffed between slices of bread, wrapped in banana leaves, and filled with a dizzying array of meats, cheeses, and moles. Plus, they keep in the freezer for months. Look out tortilla.
In an informal survey of New York tamales, one thing is clear: The best tamales come from the steaming, stainless steel pots of food vendors across the city. Their hours, locations, and availability can be difficult to pin down during the pandemic, which is part of why this guide also includes a handful of Eater’s favorite brick-and-mortar restaurants. Some of the businesses listed below only serve tamales as a weekend special, while others sell out early, so call ahead before making the trek. If there’s a tamal in your neighborhood that we missed, let us know at email@example.com.Read More