Would you like to view the UK edition of this site?

View UK Edition

Indio International Tamales Festival

Indio International Tamales Festival

Quest for the Fest - Sn 1/Ep 5Quest for the Fest - Sn 1/Ep 5

Create a free account with Tastemade to save recipes and videos!

It's always a good time for tamales! This week on Quest for the Fest, Amy Shuster is at the Indio International Tamales Festival.

Shop Tastemade

See All
Tastemade App

To save this video and more, Download the Tastemade App

Facebook Comments

Transcript

- Hey everybody! I'm Amy Shuster and I'm in Indio, California also known as the City of Festivals and today I'm at the International Tamale Festival which is basically the largest tamale party in America. Over 125,000 people come out to the desert every year just to eat tamales. It's awesome, I'm here, I'm gonna eat as much as I can, I've got my stretchy pants on and I'm ready to go. - Come with me to discover festivals, big and small, from all across the globe where people indulge their senses in a celebration of local treats and time-honored traditions. - You with me? Let's do it. The Mexican-American presence in Indio dates back for over a century since the arrival of Traqueros. Otherwise known as railroad laborers employed by the Southern Pacific. With them they brought their delicious food and culture. Wow, I love these murals. They really tell the origin of the city of Indio and they're beautiful. Because there are so many festivals and special events held annually in Indio, California the Chamber of Commerce dubbed Indio's official nickname to be the City of Festivals. Two major annual festivals are The National Date Festival and the Indio International Tamale Festival. Many cultures have their own version of tamales with origins dating back to Mesoamerica, Aztec and Mayan times. Tamales as we know them today are a major comfort food in Mexico and the United States. Essentially a tamale is made up of masa, a starchy dough, usually corn based, which is then wrapped in a corn husk and steamed. Inside the husk is filled with meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables, chiles, whatever, you name it. Today, the festival has over 75 stalls dedicated to the hearty, cornmeal husks. Other goodies I found were tortas, churros, atole, and other classic Mexican dishes. - I just had to get a champurrado. It's not quite a hot chocolate. It's a Mexican corn-based drink and it's really hot and even though we're in the desert I really wanted to get it because they're really tasty and I love 'em. So good. Ah, Grandma Lupe's. - Yeah. - I've heard so much about you guys. Grandma Lupe, she is a legend in this community for her tamales and at 84 years old she is world-renowned for her special and traditional Mexican recipes. - What do you guys recommend? - You know, I would recommend that you try our traditional pork and maybe a sweet tamale or a strawberry cream cheese. - Strawberry cream cheese? - [Chef] Yes. - Yeah, sure, of course. Awesome, thank you so much. - You're welcome, enjoy. - Is Grandma Lupe here, I'd love to meet her. - I'm her daughter, I think I can make that happen. - Oh, awesome! - All right. - Thank you, yes, I'm gonna meet Grandma. You were the grand martial today of the parade. I saw you going by. How did you feel? - You know, very proud and appreciative that the people enjoyed her tamales. So, she says she's very happy. - What was your first memory of making them? Who taught you? - And what makes your tamales better than everybody else's? - The recipe is very typical of other recipes but, you know, a lot has to do with how much you work the masa. - [Amy] So the secret's in the masa? - [Grandma] In the salsa. - In the salsa. How many do you make for the festival? - Wow, what's that, four thousand? I think I understood that. - She doesn't really aim at a quantity, it's just-- - Yeah, you just make as many as you can. - [Daughter] As she can. - Her commitment to tamale competitions is remarkable and inspiring. Look at all of these pots. Whew, looks good, awesome, so good. How do you know when they're done? - People line up for hours and stock up. All right, look at that, looking good. Here we go. Mmm, these are not wimpy tamales, at all. I've never had one with strawberries or cream cheese. Oh my God, look at that. Mmm. I've never called food cool before, but that's pretty cool. Corn, and strawberry, and cream cheese, tamale. Sure, I'm a fan. Walking around I saw so many adults and kids having fun, and I thought that was pretty cool. From up here I can see a whole lot of tamales. What kind of tamales does my horse like to eat? - [Instructor] This horse loves cake tamales. - Oh yeah? - Little bit of oats sprinkled in. - Me, I prefer chicken. - Yeah. - But whatever floats your boat baby. Onwards, to more tamales. - Alright. - Let's do it. - [Announcer] Are you ready to see who makes the best tamale at the festival? - [Amy] As a surprise, the festival put me up as a judge to taste the tamales in the competition. - The judges will rate the tamales in presentation, texture and taste. Here you go, we're gonna have tamale number one. - Smells fresh. I think 122. That's hard work. - [Announcer] This next one is tamale number two and it's chicken, spicy. - I like that one, it's really good. - Tamale number six we have chile le relleno. - I like this one. - [Announcer] Our next one is pineapple. - I think it might be my new favorite. - [Woman] You like it? - Uh-huh. That was good. - [Announcer] The next one is shredded beef with red chile sauce. We're moving on to spicy shrimp. How does it taste Amy? - I forgot you said it was shrimp and it was surprising. - [Announcer] Is this tamale number 11? Flor de Calabaza with Asadero cheese. - They don't give you any time, they just keep bringing them. I don't even have a chance to swallow. - [Announcer] Barbecue chicken, smoked Gouda and sweet corn. - Barbecue. - [Announcer] Yum. - You gotta eat, you gotta unwrap, you gotta taste it, you gotta observe it, you gotta smell it, you gotta write it down, you gotta do math. Not easy. - [Announcer] Portabella mushroom and potato. Potato, potato, potato, buffalo chicken tamale. - Pants are getting unbuttoned. - The last tamale's a date tamale! - It's never ending! Oh, thank you. I give up. - [Announcer] And the winner of the commercial gourmet is pineapple, Asadero los Corrales. They gave us a pineapple. - I agree with that. - This is a tamale eating contest. To see who can eat the most tamales in two minutes for the ages 18 and under, go. - I'm rooting for the nine year old. 'Cause she's so cute.. - [Crowd] Three, two, one. - After watching the grown-ups and kids dig into the tamale eating contest and eating so many different varieties I felt I needed to shake it off, get my footwork into action and shed some calories. The Folklorico dancers gave me a great opportunity to take part in an age-old tradition. You were good. - Thank you. - Do you always do the fest? - Yeah, I've been doing it for 15 years. - 15 years? Girl, how old are you? - 21. - [Amy] Oh my God. - I started when I was like young. - What do you call this style of dance? - This one specifically is Veracruz from the region of Veracruz in Mexico. - Veracruz? - Yeah. And so it's just folk dancing from a long time ago. - Oh, that's cool. - Hey, do you want to dance? - [Amy] Yeah. - Well do you wanna wear a dress? - Are you kidding, can I do the thing? - [Dancer] No, yeah, for sure. - I wanna do the thing, yay! - Okay, give me one second. - Yay, she's gonna show me. - Okay, so, if you wanna lift your skirt in the front. Just, yeah, just here, just hold this. There we go, okay. You're gonna go like this. - One, two. Three, four. One, two, three, four. - There we go. With the fan and then the other side with the fan. - It's complicated. - And these are going to go up like this. Oh, but don't lose this one. Okay now, okay now this one. Just, both of them up, are up. - One, two, one, two, one, two, one, two. One, two, one, two, one, yeah? - Yeah, maybe with a little bit more practice, um-- - Whee! - Or, okay. - I'm doing it Ma! Look, Ma, I'm dancing. I'm dizzy. - Maybe we should go watch the other dancers. You got it. - Oh my gosh, that was so much fun. Now that I've danced it off I'm feeling ready to get back to trying some tasty tamales. Hello, Gustavo. I would love to have a tamal de pollo. Ah, horchata por favor. - [Gustavo] Una horchata por favor! - It's a cinnamon-y rice beverage. It's a traditional Mexican drink. And it goes perfect with tamales or tacos. Ah, that looks tasty. Mm, there's a nice spice to the chicken. It's really soft and tender and the masa is perfect. So let's see what TJ's tamales taste like. Ooh, I'd never had guava. It's pink! I am trying the most bizarre tamales I've ever had in my life. I like guava, it's definitely a dessert. Save this one for last. Vegan, organic tamales. - Yes, we're certified organic and we have vegan tamales, vegetarian. - Is that your mom on the banner? - [Vendor] That's my mom. - [Amy] Oh she's so pretty. - Yeah, they're all her recipes. - I wanna try the cheese and black bean. Alright, delicioso, let's do it. Mm, mm, surprisingly really nice. And it's nice to know that it's healthy and organic. This festival in particular is really awesome. Eating all of these amazing Mexican food staples, and then you look up and you're surrounded by the mountains and the sun is setting and I understand now why they do it out here in Indio because it's just a fantastic backdrop to an already fantastic festival. I've eaten so many tamales that I feel like I have turned into a tamale myself. I've had such a great time at this festival and I'm telling you, you gotta check it out for yourself. Bye!

Coming right up

Autoplay
  • placeholder

    placeholder

  • placeholder

    placeholder

  • placeholder

    placeholder

  • placeholder

    placeholder

  • placeholder

    placeholder

  • placeholder

    placeholder

  • placeholder

    placeholder

  • placeholder

    placeholder