No big gatherings for the holidays hurting tamale vendors

In Boyle Heights, the lunchtime rush for La Indiana Tamales has customers lining around the block.

"You better hurry up before the line gets here," customer Vic Perdomo playfully warns FOX 11.

Born and raised in the neighborhood, Perdomo says he now drives from Diamond Bar for the tamale he swears he can't get anywhere else.

"The meat that they put in them is incredibly tasty," Perdomo said. "They don't change their menu, it's been the same for years."

Family-run for 40 years to be exact. For generations of Angelenos, Christmas season is tamale season!

“It was a poor family that had to once a month get together and give the king a meal. They didn’t have too much, but they had corn and they had meat. They put it together and they created ‘tamale.’ That’s my version. That’s what I’ve been told so that’s what I believe," explained La Indiana Tamales manager Luis Ramos.

“We just enjoy the time together and eating and laughing and just enjoying the food," said customer Laura Murphy.

However, tamale vendors are now feeling the pain as COVID-19 is forcing families to cancel gatherings.

Perdomo said he won't be with his extended family for the holidays because of the pandemic.

“It’s just going to be the two of us. We’d love to be with the grandkids and family but we can’t. We just can’t. And we’ve got to respect that," he said.

La Indiana Tamales tells FOX 11 sales are down compared to last year but workers with the Boyle Heights tamale hotspot say they're just grateful they can stay open and don't have to lay off their employees.

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