tamale hunting in san diego


Mary is a San Diego native and has been a food blogger for 11+ years. She is an avid reader, a lover of puppies, and loves trying new food. Foods she loves: sweets, peanut butter, pasta, Triscuit crackers with cream cheese, and extra nuts on top of her sundaes. Food she dislikes: pickles, really spicy food, runny eggs, olives, and too much arugula.

13 Responses

  1. Lynn says:

    We liked the tamales from la costa farm stand in encinitas (tried once). My coworker shared tamales from mexico but they were too thick with masa. I probably tried at a few other places in sd but dont remember any specifics. My mom brought tamales over from Texas and I liked those the best… not so easy to get though! Hope you do a little more exploring so that we can piggyback on your suggestions! =)

    • mary says:

      Hi Lynn – Thanks for the suggestions! I have also had the tamales from Las Cuatro Milpas which I really, really like but … the line! Oy vey. I need to start stopping at all the little carts I see around City Heights to try more tamales!

  2. Marla says:

    Yer making my mouth water! We used to go to Rosarito Beach a lot and there were two ladies who went door to door who made the best tamales I’ve ever had (outside of homemade). They had a veggie one with a spear of carrot and zucchini in it that was fabulous. I am moving back to town next month and am going to give these spots a try!

    • mary says:

      Hi Marla – Oh, that sounds lovely! I wish someone came around door to door here selling their homemade tamales… I would totally buy some up!

  3. Jinxi says:

    Ooh I also have a tamale obsession. Unfortunately I don’t have any “findings” of good ones to share with you for now… I’ve tried them at Las Cuatro Milpas, and they were good but a little heavy-handed on the sauce. It actually looked like the pork ones from the Delicious Tamales d’Pepe (so maybe Jake & T would enjoy them). Haha, anyway, I’m looking forward to checking these out πŸ™‚

    • mary says:

      Hi Jinxi – Haha… we share a love of cornbread and tamales! Maybe we just really, really like corn then… πŸ™‚ I did like the one at Las Cuatro Milpas but I’m trying to find places more uh, accessible without such a long line. I’ve seen more carts around and hopefully will get to trying out a few more of them for “research”.

  4. leanne says:

    I’m always looking for great tamales and these look amazing. When I was in college, I used to buy that tamale pack from Costco because it was so easy to heat up 2 and call it dinner. After having enjoyed some proper tamales, I feel like I should apologize to my younger self.

    • mary says:

      Hahah, oh Leanne, our younger selves forgive us, I’m sure. I’ve gotten store bought tamales, too, and in retrospect they are just not the same at all. Maybe someday I’ll actually attempt to make my own, but for now, I’m happy just trying to seek out more versions to find something tasty.

  5. There is a tamale factory in Chula Vista on Main Street, Tamales Ancira (did a post on it back in spring 2011). I like the tamales from Chico’s Bakery (at the north end of 3rd Ave in downtown CV)…they have chicken, beef, and a sweet one (which I didn’t try). Sometimes the Mexican church group where we got to church sells tamales after mass and ($2) and those are good too (beef, chicken, and corn).

    • mary says:

      Hi CC – Thanks for the suggestions! We’ll have to check out a few of those places down in Chula Vista. I think I have seen a place called Tamales Betty in CV but haven’t been there, either.

  6. There are two tamale stands that are always at the Hillcrest and Little Italy Farmer’s Market. They’re pretty good but definitely on the pricier side :/

    • mary says:

      Hi J.S. – I haven’t been to the farmer’s market in awhile, actually. It does tend to cost a little more at the farmer’s market, but I’d still try them! I think I just need to wander around City Heights and look for the little carts/stands.

  7. Lorraine says:

    YIKES, how can it be so difficult to find perfect tamales in San Diego county?? I would expect a plethora! Keep the suggestions flowing!

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