Perhaps you've heard of the Texas BBQ Trail? Well, when you're in San Antonio TX, you've got to do the Tamale Trot! Inspired by our friends Tony and Susie, who took their own tamale trot a few years back and now take an annual road trip from Houston to San Antonio to buy their favorite tamales for the holidays, we went on a search to find our favorite tamales in San Antonio!
This is a growing list. There are so many fantastic little tamale shops in San Antonio, that we just couldn't get to them all on one trip. So come back again in the future to see what else we've found!
Video: Searching for the Best Tamales in San Antonio
1130 Fresno Drive, San Antonio TX 78201 Serving the community since 1938, Adelita specializes in pork, jalapeno pork, chicken, and bean jalapeno tamales, masa and homemade tortilla chips and gorditas. They also sell meats, including barbacoa and carnitas, by the pound, as well as chicarron (fried pork skins) and menudo. This is also a good stop for fresh tacos. Their barbacoa tacos were fantastic! We bought 2 barbacoa tacos, a dozen tamales, and 2 drinks for right around $17.
1330 Culebra Road, San Antonio TX 78201 Now a 7 location chain around San Antonio, Delicious Tamales has been serving the community since the 1960s. The location we visited (on Culebra Road) is their headquarters and manufacturing facility where they now have the ability to produce 70 dozen tamales every 2 minutes! They produce 13 types of tamales including pork, jalapeno pork, bean, jalapeno bean, chicken, jalapeno chicken, cheese, vegetarian, tomatillo chicken and cheese and sweet tamales. And yes, they live up to the Delicious name! At Delicious, we bought a dozen tamales and 2 drinks for about $12.
Inside Adelita Tamales
Ruben's Homemade Tamales
1807 Rigsby Avenue, San Antonio TX 78210 A neighborhood staple since 1952, Ruben's specializes in pork, jalapeno pork, chicken and bean tamales. This is also a small specialty grocery store, so you might just find something else that you need while you're here. And the tamales are definitely worth the stop! They also sell tacos, rice and beans. Our bill at Ruben's came to about $12 for a dozen tamales and 2 drinks.
La Victoria Tortillas and Tamales Factory
737 Division Avenue, San Antonio TX 78225 Victoria Factory serves pork, jalapeno pork, chicken and bean tamales, barbacoa, lengua, carnitas, tortillas, breakfast and lunch tacos, and menudo. You can also find masa, chicharrones and fresh salsa to go here. They have a meal deal that includes one dozen tamales, hot sauce and 2 sodas. We bought the meal deal plus masa and chicharrones for right around $13.
13527 Hausman Pass, San Antonio TX 78249 The new kid on the block in San Antonio, Delia's is definitely NOT new to the tamale business! This is their 7th location. The other six are in the RGV (Rio Grande Valley), another area of Texas that knows its way around a tamale! After selling her handmade tamales door-to-door for several years, Delia opened her first physical location in 1998 in South McAllen. Today, Delia's produces 18 different types of tamales, plus salsa and menudo. When we visited, Delia's was only open for drive-through service. We waited in line for 40 minutes and paid about $18 for a dozen tamales (a half-dozen of 2 different kinds), salsa and 2 drinks. It was worth it!
Tamale history has been traced back to Pre-Columbian times when women would cook for the warriors in battle. Tamales were created as a portable, make-ahead food that could be easily carried. For many years, tamales were cooked by burying them in hot ashes. The Spanish Conquistadors introduced the Aztecs to steaming, the cooking method still common today.
Creating a good tamale takes time and patience. These days, families often work together to make tamales as part of their holiday celebrations. While we don't make tamales, our family has eaten tamales as part of our Christmas celebration for years.
What Are Tamales?
In Texas, tamales are typically made of a corn dough called masa wrapped around some type of meat, bean or cheese. Each one is wrapped within a corn husk for steaming. Fillings include pork, chicken, beef, bean, cheese, or on occasion vegetables. Jalapenos or green chilis are sometimes added to bump up the spice.
We've bought some of the best tamales from ladies selling them from their cars or door-to-door since fresh tamales are always the best tamales!
That is one thing that impressed us about each of the places we've visted on this list. Every one of them makes their tamales fresh from scratch each day. We're telling y'all... it's hard to beat a good, fresh tamale! Stop in and give some of these shops a try next time you're in San Antonio!
San Antonio Tamale Trot Map:
Ranking These Tamale Shops:
We enjoyed every one of the tamales we ate and would not hesitate to visit any of these shops again. If we had to rank them based on this visit and what we bought, we would go with:
4) Victoria Factory
Where to Stay in San Antonio TX
Over the years, our go-to RV park in San Antonio has been Admiralty RV Resort on the West side of San Antonio. Admiralty has a sister resort, Greenlake RV Resort on the Southeast side of town.