After I documented my general distaste for tamales in a recent post, I received a good deal of feedback explaining how I needed to give tamales another chance. I wanted to believe there was a tamale out there that would, once-and-for-all, change my opinion on the (clearly) much-beloved Mexican menu item. As I had previously stated, my displeasure in the stuffed cornmeal rolls was not for a lack of trying (or tasting, if you will). I’d simply never had a tamale that significantly impressed me.
But all that changed for me recently.
When food blogger, Deb Arnold, the woman behind Dining with Debbie, contacted me about an opportunity to sample some hot tamales from the Mississippi Delta, the far southeastern region of Arkansas, I was open to the idea, but honestly a little skeptical. She offered to visit the famous Rhoda’s Tamales in Lake Village and transport a dozen or so hot tamales back to Little Rock. I’d heard the name “Rhoda” from a number of folks after my original tamale talk was published, so this seemed like an opportunity I shouldn’t pass up.
And so, within a few days, Deb was delivering a bag of freshly made hot tamales to my door. They were prepared and purchased that same day, and when they arrived, I wasted no time digging in.
It was a tamale revelation. These were the tamales I had always been looking for—I could finally see what all the fuss was about.
What made Rhoda’s so wonderful, so uniquely appetizing? Each tamale itself is on the smaller side—eating several at a given time is no difficult feat. Each is tightly rolled in corn husk and tied off in neat, small bundles. The tamales were composed of soft cornmeal, packed with gobs of spicy and flavorful meat—Rhoda’s special blend of beef and chicken. They come steeped in a powerful gravy punctuated by paprika and chili powder.
Perhaps what makes Rhoda’s tamales particularly good is her generous meat to cornmeal ratio. There’s nothing dry, bland, or chalky about these tamales. They’re boldly seasoned, moist, tender, and utterly delightful. Slurping down a half-dozen in that first night was all-too-simple a task.
If you’ve got an opportunity to make the approximately 2 hour drive down to Lake Village, or perhaps you’ve got a kind friend already making the trip, I encourage you to get your hands on some of these tamales. Rhoda’s “Famous” Hot Tamales are so for good reason—every Arkansan should have the pleasure of sampling some at some time in their life.
Rhoda’s Tamales is located at 714 St Marys St, Lake Village, AR. (870) 265-3108