Food & Drink

Tamales, Holidays, La Familia Oh My!

One of the most treasured holiday traditions is easy to find in Dallas.

Visit Dallas Staff
Posted on Dec 5, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Dallas - from wonderful decorations for the Twelve Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum to the lights that festoon downtown Dallas and the Neiman Marcus windows, the joy of the season is easily seen and felt.

For Hispanic families, Christmas is also the harbinger of another great tradition - making tamales. The multi-generational process is complicated and takes many hands in the kitchen, which is why it's often a family affair.

Lack of a recipe handed down from abuelita or not having enough hands to produce hundreds of tamales shouldn't keep folks from enjoying this staple of the Christmas table, especially in Dallas.

Tamales can be purchased in grocery stores like Fiesta, Whole Foods and Central Market (vacuum packed by the dozen).

Find the homemade taste of the tasty dish at La Popular Tamale House on Peak and Elm, a popular go-to for tamales for many Dallasites. You can pick up a dozen for dinner or order several dozens for the holidays along with sides like rice and beans. Large and small holiday orders also can be placed at Dallas Tortilla Factory and Luna's Tortillas.

Two other places in Dallas that offer great tamales are El Mero Mero Tamalero in the Farmers market and Lopez Foods Tortillas, which also serves the traditional accompaniment to tamales during the holidays - champurrado. Champurrado is a hot, thick and sweet traditional chocolate drink popular among Hispanics to guard against the chill of December nights.

Tamales are not the only Hispanic holiday tradition people can enjoy in Dallas. Through Dec. 11, Cara Mia Theater Company is regaling Dallas audiences with its annual retelling of the traditional shepherd's Christmas tale at the Latino Cultural Center. Described as a "zany take on this Mexican holiday tradition," "Nuestra Pastorela" features all the usual characters from the Angel Gabriel, to the shepherds on their way to Bethlehem, and the playful devils who try to keep them from getting there with chaotic and hilarious results. 

Have a Feliz Navidad in Dallas with laughter, family and tamales!