Street food in Tulum

We set out for our last supper in Tulum, feeling confident that El Asadero was the right choice.  As we walked over to the restaurant, we noticed darkness coming from inside, and to our dismay… it was closed!  What?!?!  How could they do that to us?  Closed on Sunday?  I guess that just meant we had to go back to Taqueria Diaz.  I was disappointed after all of that evaluating, planning, and anticipation, but really, it was not such a bad consolation prize.  For some reason though, I just wasn’t feelin’ it.  Something strange was in the air.  On our way over, we spotted this, and so began our street food adventure…

After about 30 seconds of internal debate, we simultaneously looked at each other, and it was settled!  I’ve always wanted to try street food in Mexico, but for some reason I’ve never acted on it.  I think maybe it’s because I like to sit while I eat, and Don Taco provided the perfect setting.  It’s amazing what a little spontaneity can do for your mood, and this evening turned into a fun-filled, face-stuffing tamal spree.  Not only were we able to enjoy a home cooked meal brought to us, but we also were able to chat with the locals and get to know a few new people along the way.  The tamales were cooked at home and kept warm in the huge kettles you see in the photos.  We each started out with 1 tamal.  All of the tamales had chicken in them which I tend to prefer over pork.  These tamales were so good!  Have you ever tried making tamales?  It is a ton of work, and I’m amazed that these people do it so well.  We were still hungry, and when Nick ordered another one, our new local friends laughed at him for being a piggie.  He really wanted this big one, but we quickly realized he didn’t order it properly, as we watched Don Taco prepare it for someone else. There was something different about the way it was prepared– I think maybe in an oven instead of steamed?  Don Taco’s tamales taste the way a tamal should taste– a light corn dough with the right amount of filling and a nice mild tomato salsa on top.  These were not the heavy, dry tamales that taste like cornbread.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like cornbread, but when I order a tamal, I want a tamal– not crumbly cornbread!  These were wrapped in banana leaves which can make for a very moist and flavorful tamal.  Since we were still hungry but embarrassed to order more, we moved on.  Without a drink on hand, we had to stop for this:

When I woke up parched 4 hours later, I realized that this was my big mistake of the night.  It was probably time for some water!

After a cold and filling beer, we walked back toward our hotel.  Satisfied enough, but still craving tamales, we were faced with a moment of weakness.  Then we spotted this in the distance:

We didn’t make it there because we stopped here first:

It had a dining room, so it fit the bill!

They had chicken mole tamales here!  Those were amazing!!!!  Notice these were wrapped in corn husks, and they were just as moist and tasty as the others.  No salsa required.Once again, I got so carried away with the food that I forgot to take a picture… until I noticed that our plates were wrapped in plastic bags.  It made me chuckle, and the germaphobe in me felt a little reassured believing that at least I was eating off of a clean surface.  In the end, it was not only a fun way to eat, but the whole dinner only cost us about $5.  And the best part of it was that we rarely get to eat tamales when we go down to Mexico.  As with Tulum Chicken, it seems they are right in front of our eyes yet so hard to find– until now!

So, El Asadero, thank you for being closed on Sunday night!  I love tamales too!


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