Tamales are a staple in many households during the holidays in Central Texas, but why let the calendar limit what time of year you can enjoy them? This article rounds up 5 Austin tamales spots that sell delicious bundles of comfort and joy year round.
Tamale House East: Tried and True
As the name informs, you’ll find this tamale favorite on Austin’s east side. The chicken tamale is delicious, but Tamale House East’s bean and cheese is the winner.
They have vegan options as well, and you can pre-order via email.
1707 E 6th St
Order via email or call 512-495-9504 a day ahead
Gardner’s Feast: Meat and Veggie Friendly
Count me as a (former) skeptic of vegetarian/vegan tamales. At Gardner’s Feast, vegans, meat eaters and vegetarians all enjoy lard-free tamales that are medium-large in size without being dry as a desert.
If you thought Al Pastor was just for tacos, you’re mistaken because Gardner’s pastor tamale is a showstopper. For my vegan friends, you have to order the Nopalitos tamale: thin strips of nopales (cactus) and onions, sauteed with a little bit of oregano.
Order online or visit Austin Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 9 AM-1 PM
La Mexicana Bakery: Authentic and Affordable
Fancy a Mexican pastry while waiting for your tamales? If you do, head to this 24-hour bakery where portions are generous and won’t break the bank.
The masa (tamale dough) is very tasty and the tamales themselves are fairly large. The favorite here is pork, but they also offer chicken.
1924 S. 1st St
Call 512-443-6369 to place orders a day ahead
El Mana Taqueria: Off the Beaten Path
Owned and operated by Norma Flores, this under the radar spot makes smaller but incredibly flavorful tamales. The bean and cheese and pork tamales will be the crowd pleasers here.
Order a day ahead at this cash only place or gamble on availability during lunch time.
5938 Westminster Rd
Call 512-662-7208 to place your order at least 24 hours ahead of time
Mr. Natural: Vegans Rejoice!
Another vegetarian/vegan recommendation? Why not! This restaurant and health store sells tamales by the half dozen, ready to go from their freezer or hot from the kitchen.
Order the vegetable or the bean and cheese tamales. Both are made with soybean oil in the masa, making them vegan but not crumbly and dry.
1901 E Cesar Chavez and 2414-A S Lamar
Call ahead at 512-477-5228 to place your order or pick up from their freezer
Tamales in Austin
Long before Henry Ford utilized the assembly line system for his Model T’s, Latina abuelas used the assembly line for something more delicious: tamales. This tradition has survived in Austin, but not everyone has access to a grandma, grandpa, mom or aunt who makes tamales.
While some of the best tamales in Austin are sold from sole proprietors in parking lots, these 5 spots are reliable and delicious. By giving enough notice, you can be sure to have some tamales for your holiday meal, Thursday potluck or as a great milk and cookies substitute for Santa next year.
@edwinxavierocho wants to know:
Where are your favorite tamales in Austin?