Rosa Cienfuego's Dulwich Hill tamaleria is one of the few places in Sydney making truly authentic Mexican street food. Especially tamales.

To make those tamales, *masa• – a mixture of corn flour, lard, baking soda and chicken stock – is spooned onto a softened corn husk. Shredded chicken and a spoonful of salsa verde gets added, then it's all rolled into a compact rectangle.

They might look different but each charmingly handmade tamale is precisely 215 grams. Cienfuegos can intuit the right weight because – between her eponymous catering business and the highly regarded La Casa Latina pop-up at Addison Road Community Centre – she might make anywhere from 70 to 500 in a day, depending on the occasion.

The deli has two types on offer: Mexico City-style pollo con salsa verde (chicken with green salsa) steamed in a corn husk, or Oaxaqueno-style (pronounced “wahakenyo” and from Oaxaca, a city in southern Mexico), made with masa and chiles poblano con queso (mildly spicy Mexican capsicum with cheese) steamed in a banana leaf.

Cienfuegos’s deli is a way to offer her native cuisine to Australians every day of the week.

She says authentic Mexican food such as hers doesn’t exist anywhere in Sydney or even in Australia. The shop also gives her the chance to educate punters about the cuisine.

The offering of dry goods is small, for now, but there are all the essentials for making authentic Mexican food, including tamales. Cienfuegos will happily share the recipe, even for the addictive goes-with-everything salsa verde.

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Updated: October 7th, 2022

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