Back in 2007 this small town south of Yuma started a tamale festival. Currently limited to 40 booths, the vendors are making homemade tamales from family recipes. Each tamale cost $1.50 and are paid for with prepaid tickets. We arrived at starting time at 11 a.m. and surprisingly there wasn’t much of a line for tickets.
There were tamales from traditional pork and beef to the more adventuresome of shrimp tamales (Marty’s favorite) and tamales wrapped in banana leaves. Several booths also offered a variety of sweet tamales with pineapple, strawberry, or apple with raisins.
Some of the booths offered combo plates with traditional beans and rice, but most came with beans and macaroni salad. Huh??? Mac salad? It looked like the family’s booths maintained the same booth number as the menus looked well used. I wish they used family or booth names to make it easier to remember which ones you liked.
Got to look up “champurrado” because it was on most of the menus and none of us knew what it was.
It was interesting to see that the young people served the public at the front of the booth, while the mamas and grandmas were in the back steaming up more tamales, so they were real fresh. Every kind and type of pots were used and also many types of heat sources. Other booths had all their tamales already cooked and stored in coolers
We didn’t use all our ten tickets, so we took three tamales home to eat later. Next time we’re here I’ll try the shrimp tamale and the fruit ones. But I’ll definitely look for the booths with the stoves steaming the tamales in the back as they are fresher than the ones in the coolers that have been made ahead of time and frozen.
We left about an hour later and the crowds were getting large and very busy. Navigating down the street with booths on both sides didn’t give you much room to walk around, especially with everyone walking while eating their tamales. Maybe it is time for Somerton to consider making this a two day affair. But we certainly did enjoy the event and will definitely come back.
Remember, you are loved.