Tamale Fusion

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911 Adams St SE.
Olympia, WA 98501
(888) 801-0315


Latin American
Credit Cards Accepted, Kid-Friendly, Take-out, Vegetarian-Friendly
Avg. Meal:

The Review

Reviewed by: Molly Gilmore

Tamales, leaf-wrapped bundles of corn masa with hearty fillings, are a Christmas tradition in their native Mexico, where families gather to make the labor-intensive dish.

For Melanie Gary and Devon McCabe, owners of Olympia's Tamale Fusion, tamales are something more.

And it's a tradition they can share with their families, thanks to Tamale Fusion's own twist on the classic. At their food cart and for their catering business, the couple makes tamales in unusual flavors inspired by the dishes of many cultures. Their offerings are mostly organic, and many are vegetarian or vegan.

Gary and McCabe both spent time living in California, where tamales are popular street food. That's part of the reason they're making tamales today.

The other part was economic necessity. When they made their first tamales last year, both were single parents struggling to find work.

Gary and McCabe's first tamales were sold from a cooler that kept them hot, and were traditional: filled with meat and made with conventional ingredients.

"It started because we wanted to make the food available to people who don't eat meat products," Gary says. "We found out that there weren't tamale recipes out there for vegans. We had to make them up. It was so much fun that we let that carry over into everything else we made."

Today, Tamale Fusion's flavors include Thai curried pumpkin, sun-nut butter with homemade jelly, cheese with fire-roasted chilies and tomatoes, shrimp Creole with collard greens, and Ethiopian spiced beef with ricotta and mint.

"We didn't think we'd be where we are right now," Gary says. "We couldn't be happier."

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