Our first tasting on our cooking school visit to the Etla market was a series of four tamales that were easily the best we've ever had. The first was a Tamal de Frijol - filled with a refried black bean mixture. The green bits you can see are Hierba Santa.
The next tamal was Flor de Calabaza (squash blossom). The entire tamal had a great green color, speckled with orange from the flowers. Some chunks of pork added a savory contrast.
Up next was a chicken tamal with a tomato base. Simple, but very flavorful. Interestingly, this tamal and the previous one used masa that wasn't a consistent fine grind. Instead, there were coarsely ground bits of maiz providing a texture we hadn't previously encountered - really nice.
The final tamal we tasted was a Tamal de Mole Coloradito. This one was a typical "Oaxacaño" tamal, wrapped in banana leaf with looser masa and a more saucy filling than the others. It had an incredibly rich intense taste.
The vendor had two or three more varieties, but since this was only the beginning of our market tour we had to save room for later.