I am California born and raised and although I now live in Atlanta nothing can take away my love for REAL Mexican food. Aside from enchiladas, tamales are my next favorite Mexican food. You could put rocks and sand in a tamale and I'd still love it. My weakness is the masa. I could eat a tamale made entirely out of masa (but then I guess it wouldn't be a tamale...oh well!) When I ran across 3 Hot Tamales brand tamales at my local co-op, at first I was excited but then my excitement turned into apprehension. I've been down this road before. All excited about a veganized, quick and convenient version of my favorite food just to taste it and immediately spit it out in disgust. But...I thought of you guys and thought if nothing else it would make a great review for the blog so, I bought a box.
3 Hot Tamales come in 4 varieties, 3 of which are vegan: black bean chiptole pepper, potato green chili cheese (not vegan), Burger style red chili and chicken style/salsa verde. At my co-op they were close to $6 for a pack of 3 tamales. At around $2 a tamale the price is a bit steep but on the upside the tamales were very filling so it can last you a couple meals.
I tried the Burger Style Red Chili Tamales and I have to say they just weren't for me. The flavor of the filling was good but not great and very spicy but on the upside they were extremely filling (I was only able to eat 1 1/2 tamales for lunch) and at 130 calories a tamale it's a great low calorie meal. But, as I mentioned before I'm a fan of masa and these tamales just aren't made from authentic masa. The texture of the "masa" was softer than traditional masa which was turn off #1. The second turn off was the taste, it just taste like a thick flour tortilla with a mushy texture. This could be the reason why the ingredients read "tamale dough" instead of masa.
Overall, if you weren't raised on Mexican food then you would probably think these tamales were just fine. But if you're from California or anywhere in the southwest you'll probably be disappointed by 3 Hot Tamales.