Portland’s Tamale Festival Kicks Off Wednesday
If you love tamales, this is for you! The food carts at the Portland Mercado on SE Foster are serving up a variety of tamales this week, from many regions of the country. Tamale Fest is Wed-Sun at 7238 SE Foster Rd. Hours are 11am-8pm each day.
Tamales have been around practically forever. They originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC. The Aztec and Maya civilizations, as well as some even before them, used tamales as easily portable food, for hunting trips, and for traveling large distances. Corn husks or banana leaves serve as a plate of sorts, Masa, which is corn and water is the first layer, then meats, cheeses, chilis, beans, vegetables, nuts—basically whatever you have handy goes in the center. It’s then steamed and it forms a hot pocket of food.
Each region of South America has it’s own twist, and that’s where the Portland Mercado comes in. If you go there this week you can try tamales that aren’t typically on the menu.