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Where to Find Tamales Made With Fresh Corn in the Bronx

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A tamlito de elote. [Photographs: Chris Crowley]

We've written about Honduran restaurant Seis Vecinos before, praising their baleadas, thick flour tortillas wrapped around queso durado, refried beans, and crema, and seductive cashew apple juice. But there's more to the menu than just tortillas and juice.

For starters, there's the Tamalito de Elote. From the Mississippi Delta to the Mission and all the way up here in New York, most Americans know the tamale by way of Mexico. But Central America is a land of tamales unto itself; Guatemala, it is rumored, boasts dozens of varieties.

The tamalito de elote differs from others made with masa. This is made with fresh, unrefined corn, which makes for a sweeter dough with a softer texture. Fresh corn tamales can be found in Mexico, but they are seldom—if ever—sold on the streets of New York. Some, like the one sold at Parkchester's Pupersia Salvadorena, sport fresh corn kernels, while Seis Vecinos' boasts a more uniform texture.

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The tamalito, which is made to order, is deliciously sweet if a little dry, but nothing some tangy crema can't fix. Order one for breakfast with coffee if you're hankering for something sweet first thing in the morning. You could get coffee here, but we recommend grabbing a cup of nearby El Atoradero's cafe de olla if you can handle the added dose of sugar.

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There are plenty of entrees to choose from on this menu, all of them more or less straight forward: beef or chicken soup, chicharrons with yucca, marinated skirt steak. If meat is on your mind, consider their Fried Chicken with Plantains ($12). The primary virtue of the plate, a mixed bag, is the chicken's well-fried, delightfully crunchy and craggly, and entirely grease-free skin. If only the meat, which brined and very moist, were seasoned so properly. Pass on the plantains, which are woefully under-fried, and the too-funky cheese, but do indulge in the vinegary, refreshing curtido that comes underneath the chicken. The raw, shredded cabbage with mild hot sauce refreshes well.

Still this isn't a bad place to satisfy your fried chicken in the Bronx. But you're best off sticking to those baleadas and tamalitos, which are just as filling when eating together and much more delicious.

About the author: Chris Crowley is the author of the Bronx Eats and Anatomy of A Smorgasburg Pop Up columns. Follow him on Twitter, if you'd like. In person, your best bet is the window seat at Neerob, or waiting in line at the Lechonera La Piranha trailer.

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