dusk near Cuernavaca

dusk near Cuernavaca

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Today I traveled by subway to the pleasant Mexico City neighborhood of Coyoacán.  My destination was the National Museum of Popular Cultures.  I have been to the museum once before, and I was not impressed.  However, I had read in a magazine that the winners from a national contest of Nativity scenes were to be on exhibit there until February, so I decided to go back.

Before I had even found the Nativity scenes, I realized that the museum was holding its annual festival of tamales in its patio.  Tamales are made from a special corn dough, are stuffed with either savory or sweet fillings, are wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf and are steamed.  

Please note: The singular of "tamales" is not "tamale", but "tamal", which comes from the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs.

The museum courtyard was filled with vendors from different parts of Mexico selling a wide variety of tamales.  There were also vendors from Central America serving their versions, and South Americans who were preparing their own corn dough dishes such as "arepas" from Colombia.

 Making "arepas"

It was around lunch time, so I decided to try some of the vendors' wares.  I bought a Colombian "arepa", a couple of "corundas" from the Mexican state of Michoacán ("corundas" are little triangles of corn dough topped with frijoles or "mole"), a black "mole" tamal from Oaxaca, and a pork tamal from Veracruz.  

I had never had an "arepa" before, and I thought that it was rather bland, even served with salsa.  Of the others that I tried, the best was the pork tamal.  Very yummy!  

The festival of tamales was an unexpected and tasty treat!


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