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A mother’s legacy of tamales in Santa Ana

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Ismael Chan Caamal serves customers on Calle 45. Photo: Diario de Yucatán
Ismael Chan Caamal serves customers on Calle 45. Photo: Diario de Yucatán

For over 20 years, Ismael Chan Caamal has been dedicated to selling tamales in the Santa Ana neighborhood. But his business’s history goes back even further.

After a busy day serving customers for Candlemas, Chan Caamal told a Diario de Yucatán reporter that even though he is from San Sebastián, he has come to feel more connected to the Santa Ana area. His small cocina, Tamales Santa Ana on Calle 45 off Calle 60, practically at the steps of the church on Parque Santa Ana, is nondescript and unassuming, but has built a reputation for wonderful food.

Tamales Santa Ana is near the neighbor's main church. Photo: Google
Tamales Santa Ana is near the neighbor’s main church. Photo: Google

Tamales Santa Ana originally started with Chan Caamal’s mother 28 years ago, and has become a tradition. Chan Caamal has a university degree in marketing, but instead has decided to pursue the family business. His mother still cooks off-site; he greets the customers.

A steady climb

For 19 years they were selling at the door of the bakery Pan Perlita, when it was around the corner from where they are now. But steady growth allowed them to inhabit their own storefront, where they also sell snacks. Initially, there were few competitors in the tamale marketplace, but their reputation has allowed them to survive despite a growing number of rivals.

“Customers already know who I am, and recognize me and know where they can buy tamales,” the merchant told Diario de Yucatán. “It’s something I enjoy doing; it’s a tradition, and I plan to keep doing it. I like the contact with people who still enjoy the typical family meal.”

Sources: Diario de Yucatán, Google

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