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Tamale and Champorrado cart
Outside Rancho Fresco Market
1852 National Avenue, Barrio Logan
619-338-9140

Tamales are about the most genuinely Aztec food you can get, virtually unchanged since Montezuma's time. And people vote the tamale cart outside Rancho Fresco Produce Market in Barrio Logan best. From 8:30 in the morning, when they bring in the first steaming batch, to 4 p.m. when they pull down the canopy and wheel the cart away, folks crowd around it, asking especially for chicken tamales, but also beef and the spicy queso con rajas -- cheese and chili. Kids love the sweet ones loaded with pineapple, strawberry, or coconut. Of course, you must drink champorrado (the cornmeal-chocolate-cinnamon milk drink). It's the traditional accompaniment. The tamales are made by El Chiapaneco restaurant at 25th and Market, where you can also purchase them.

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