January 25, 2015

These Tamales Will Get You Up Early on Saturday Morning

There are a lot of great breakfast options around Philadelphia, but for something really different get up early one Saturday morning and go to Mole Poblano for tamales.

Just fold open and devour with a spoon.
The South Philly taqueria is supposed to be a great spot for all sorts of authentic Mexican food (we haven't been for lunch/dinner yet) but the real gem here are the tamales, available early morning on weekends only. Husband and wife, Papá Pedro Ríos and Ynes Sandoval get up at 5:30am to start making tamales by hand and have them steamed and ready for sale from about 8:00am - 10:00am. Perfect for a morning treat, or a way to make your next venture to the Comcast Service Center on Delaware Ave not suck (worked for us!).

Tamales look fairly simple, but are packed with a variety of rich, fresh flavors - and major TLC from the hands that make them. The inside "dough" is masa corn flour mashed with lard and homemade chicken and pork stock, then folded inside corn husks to steam along with any other stuffings picked that day.

We literally just said "one of each, please" and ended up with four: chicken, tomatillos and salsa verde; shredded pork with roasted salsa; vegetarian with stringy Oaxaca cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions; and our favorite, pork with the chefs' housemade mole sauce. The mole added volumes of deep, rich flavor, baked right into the meat. As you unfold the corn husks, the aroma alone will capture your heart before you even take a bite.

Craig Laban named these signature mole tamales one of the 15 best things he ate in 2014 and tells more of the backstory on how Mole Poblano was founded and how great the rest of their Mexican dishes are. The restaurant is one of several great Mexican options in the part of South Philly known as "Puebladelfia" for the number of residents originally from the Puebla state in Mexico. We met a food blogger from Puebla last year who said this pocket of Philly is one of the largest populations of Puebla immigrants in the U.S., with great access to ingredients from home. 

You can eat the tamales in Mole Poblano, or just don't open the foil and head straight home. We sat ours in the oven for an extra 15-20 mins until we were ready to eat and they were still warm and delicious. Oh, and the price for all four? $10. Can't beat that. Give them a try!

Delicious pork with rich, dark mole sauce. So good!

Vegetarian with stringy Oaxaca cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions. Although ask first about the chicken/pork stock used if you're strict about zero animal products. We read about the stock but didn't discuss with them in store.

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