Me So Corny: Uchepos, Michoacan’s Famous Sweet All-Corn Tamales Spotted in Highland Park

Feli-Mex Market in Highland Park

Like every good gentrifying hipster, I try my best to shop locally and demonize big chain supermarkets as much as I can afford to. Which is ironic because I’m broke as hell these days (fyi, for any lurking eyes that reads this post and can hook it up with any type of work). But amidst my neighborhood browsing, I found a place that sells the elusive Tamales Michoacanos known as Uchepos.

Pan Calientito [y Tamales!] Todos Los Dias
Pan Calientito [y Tamales!] Todos Los Dias

I think it was the window painting of the iconic mustached Mexican Panadero pulling out tray full of burnished bolillos that lured me in.

Uchepos: The best tamal ever created
Uchepos: Perhaps The best tamal ever created

It turns out they sell a couple of regional Mexican specialty foods, the most special being Michoacan’s notorious all-corn tender tamales on weekends made by an old Michoacana lady. These corn pouches of love are exclusively made with a little butter, a pinch of sugar and whole lot of freshly ground corn kernels – no nixtamal! Which results in a sweet, soft polenta-like tamal resembling a savory corn pudding that is on the edge of being dessert.

On their own they are fine but served with the traditional Michoacano accoutrements of thick, tart salsa verde, a mountain of salty, sharp Cotija cheese and a fat ass dollop of Crema Mexicana, they ain’t nothing to fuck with. Sweet and salty, and so delicately tender, bursting with fresh corn flavor. I usually buy two pairs of them with its toppings there too then head back home to pig out. They pair beautifully with a brimming mug of strong Clever Coffee dripped coffee.

To reiterate, these are only available on weekends (Friday-Sunday) and they are known to sell out by early afternoon so if you really want to experience them, you gotta bust that early ass breakfast mission. Ask for them at the front counter, they have a basket of tamales there with other fillings that aren’t bad if they are out already. The Uchepos are something like a buck and change a pop.

To this day, I haven’t seen these type of Tamales anywhere else in LA. Though, Las Brisas De Apatzingan in Orange County makes them daily and they are a little better there. I almost kept this little gem to myself, but whatever man, YOLO.

Uchepos, the money shot
Uchepos, the money shot

Feli-Mex Market
Corner of Figueroa Boulevard and Avenue 55

Ask the Glutster: Where are them non-holiday season tamales hook ups???

Hey Javier,

How are things going?

I’m looking for some recommendations for food for a house party of 35-40 people. Who would you suggest makes good platters of tamales? I know it’s typically a Christmas thing, but they’re an easy party dish.
If you have any other ideas, I’ve already done taco research. Any good churros?
Thanks and I hope you’re well.
Best,
Neil

Yooo!

I know it’s kind of overdone and you’ve probably heard this before but Guelaguetza always has  a steady supply of them banana leafed bad boys. Also, the most central location for most Angelenos.

But if you want to get some truly awesome shit and go out of your way a little, let’s go eat at Rocio’s Mole de Los Dioses and I’ll introduce you to Rocio. She’ll whip you up however much you want of them steamy, corn love nuggets with extra Oaxacan TLC.

And lastly, my top recommendation of all: LAS BRISAS DE APATZINGAN in Santa Ana.

Gustavo Arellano brought me here for dinner when he asked me to give a lecture at his Cal State Fullerton class and they proved to be the best damn tamales I’ve ever had, almost like them more than my moms! Well, they are different. The thing is that these are “Uchepos,” those  freshly shucked corn (no masa here homie) based sweet tamales from the underestimated state of Michoacan. The texture is like hot pudding and you top each one with tart tomatillo salsa, a dollop of Mexican Crema and imported stinky, salty Cotija cheese for a sweet and salty nutritious dessert/dinner. My girlfriend and I religiously come here on the first Saturday of every month just to buy a dozen to take back home, we freeze them and ration them out through out the month, haha.

As for churros, hmm, I’ll get back to you on that shizz, last time I saw Salinas Churro truck was at a random backyard, probably getting some mecanico work done. But its too hot for fried dough anyway man!

Lemme knowwwwww.

-Javi Lokes

changed sides tamale

(Header photo taken by Paola Briseño (Research and Kitchen).)

Guelaguetza
3014 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Rocio’s Mole de Los Dioses
6242 Maywood Ave., Bell.

Las Brisas de Apatzingan
1524 South Flower Street
Santa Ana, CA 92707
(714) 545-5584