If you’d like to know whether I ate five tamales from Los Hernandez Tamales in a single night, well, the answer is yes.
But before you judge me, you should know that tamales from Los Hernandez are really, really good. Capital-G “Good,” probably-should-be-illegal good, just stupid-good. So, I’m not going to sit here and listen to you talk about, “Oh, what a pig. He ate five tamales in one evening,” or “I’m full after three tamales. What kind of food-monster can even possibly eat five?” Because, and this is important, I totally understand where you’re coming from and think it’s generally a plainly bad idea to eat beyond the point of being full and all that.
But I don’t care, because on that night — which will henceforth be known as The Night of Five Tamales — I had Los Hernandez’ locally renowned, available-only-in-season asparagus and pepper-jack cheese tamales for the first time. I didn’t honestly think they’d be that good. I had heard great things, but I’m primarily a pork tamale man with the occasional chicken tamale thrown in for variety. The asparagus ones were an afterthought, an addition I had to make with a second phone call after my girlfriend insisted on it.
They were a little more expensive. Pork and chicken are $1.50 apiece or $16.30 per dozen. Asparagus tamales are $1.89 apiece or $22.68 per dozen. And the pork and chicken are good, too. I had two pork and a chicken before I decided to try the asparagus. I was pretty full, but I figured I should see what the fuss was about.
The fuss was about a tamale unlike any I’d ever tasted. The richness of the maza combined with the cooked but firm asparagus and the tang of pepper-jack cheese was just too much. I had to have another. And I don’t regret it.
Los Hernandez is primarily a to-go operation, selling tamales by the dozen, either fresh or frozen. But there are a few tables for those who want to dine in. The ambience is friendly and quaint, befitting a long-standing family business in a small town like Union Gap.
Los Hernandez Tamales
Address: 3706 S. Main St. in Union Gap
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays-Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays