If you find yourself in Ibagué, you have to try a Tamal Tolimense. This specialty can be found all over town but we recommend finding a tiny little place a little out of the way on Calle 21 between Carrera 6 and Carrera 7. It’s only open on weekends. An older man sits out front and serves customers. We had two tamales and two coffees for COP$7,000.
A tamal is different depending on the country or region of a country. In Colombia, tamales are wrapped in plantain leaves and quite large. One tamal can make a whole meal. They can be eaten for any meal of the day. A tamal tolimense is the most popular version of tamal in the country. The plantain leaf is filled with a soft, mushy, corn-based dough called masa, peas, boiled egg, carrots, and a meat (usually chicken or pork), and then steamed. It’s typically served with an arepa. If eaten for breakfast, it’s common to drink a hot chocolate with it.