December in El Paso means it's tamal season in El Paso. If you’ve lived here even a few years you know tamales and Christmas-time go hand-in-hand.

Although the delicious mixture of masa filled with chicken or pork, wrapped in a corn husk, and steamed to perfection is available year-round, tamales are a requirement at family gatherings this time of the year.

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And while many families get together for a tamalada, or tamale-making party, I prefer to take the easy way out and just buy a dozen or three. Fortunately for the likes of people like me, El Paso is a big tamal town.

The Best of the Best 2021

Below are 10 El Paso-area spots known and loved for their tamales.

Those who love a good tamal with their Cafecito will recognize many of the local institutions on this list, but you’ll also find a few surprising places in and around the 915 to get great tamales — places that might not be on your tamal radar, but should be.

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The List

The list was compiled using my own voodoo science consisting of a mix of Yelp ratings and reviews, listener input, opinions of trusted tamal lovers, and my taste buds.

Delicious Mexican Eatery, 3314 Ft. Blvd
Chepe’s Tamales, 5505 Montana Ave
La Colonial Tortilla Factory, 212 N. Copia
Doña Lupita Tamales, 13431 Montana Ave # A
Gussie's Tamales & Bakery, 2200 N Piedras St
La Tapatia, 8941 Old County Dr.
Coronado Prime Meats, 6535 N. Mesa
Pepe's Tamales, 9530 Viscount Blvd
Tamales Lupita, 6860 Doniphan Dr B, Canutillo, TX
Valentines Bakery, 11930 Picasso Dr

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This is, by no means, an all-encompassing list. As previously noted at the beginning of this ode to the tamal, El Pasoans gotta have their tamales, and because we have so many places that make them as good as any Señora selling them out of a cooler at a Lower Valley Walmart parking lot, chances are there’s a place known and loved for theirs near you.

Now, as far as the red or green debate, well, that’s easy; a dozen of both, of course.

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