Tamales begin to displace turkey at Thanksgiving dinner

Javier Mejía, one of the proprietary brothers of Tamales Alberto, shows the smoking tamales tray. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

Araceli Martínez / The Opinion

Although eating turkey is the custom at Thanksgiving dinner, without making much noise the Mexican tamales have gotten into the taste of the angels and have begun to move to the favorite dish that is served tonight.

"In the last three years, the demand for tamales has grown a lot for Thanksgiving," says Jorge Mejía, one of the proprietary brothers of Tamales Alberto, with three businesses specializing in tamales in Los Angeles.

"We estimate that demand has increased by 70%", He says. "It's quite because we are 100% Christmas," he notes. The months in which the most people consume tamales in Los Angeles are November and December.

Javier Mejía, prepare tamales for Thanksgiving. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).
Javier Mejía from Tamales Alberto Echo Park, happy for the demand that tamales have this season. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

The owner of the Tamales Alberto comments that from two weeks before, they begin to prepare to meet the demand for tamales for Thanksgiving.

"The sale starts from the Monday before. We have orders not only from families but from schools and offices. People start celebrating from days before”, He says.

The demand is so great that they no longer only sell them in the three businesses that are open to the public but also take them home.

"The tamale most people ask for is chicken in green sauce," he says. Although they have a wide variety, including vegetarians with spinach and cheese, tofu in chipotle sauce, and beans with cheese.

Tamales have been increasingly demanding demand for Thanksgiving dinner. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).
Jenny Bravo wraps tamales for Thanksgiving on Tamales Alberto. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

And they won't believe that the growing taste for tamales at thanksgiving dinner is only from Mexicans, and Latinos in general.

“We are asked by many Orientals and Americans,” says Jorge in a hurry to go to deliver the tamales for Thanksgiving dinner.

The Tamales Alberto They are located on the 1644 block west of Temple Street in Los Angeles. But they already have two more locations: “Tamales Alberto 2” at 1378 W Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, and “Tamales Alberto Echo Park” at 1630 Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles.

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Alberto's Tamales business was founded by Don Alberto Mejía, Jorge's father more than three decades ago. Don Alberto arrived from Oaxaca and started selling tamales on the sidewalks of the Placita Olvera. The owner of a bakery invited him to work for him. Hence nothing stopped him, he began to grab customers in restaurants and 36 years ago he opened his own business Tamales Alberto. His son Jorge Mejía arrived at the age of 16 from Oaxaca and at the age of 18 he joined the tamales business. Little by little the rest of the brothers and children have joined.

“In all three businesses, most of the workers are family, but we do have about six or seven employees,” says Jorge.


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