DALLAS Once the presents are wrapped and stockings stuffed, chances are folks are going to want something to fill their stomachs. For plenty North Texans, that something is tamales.

It's a tradition in Mexico that's crossed the border and is causing a huge sales rush at one East Dallas business: The La Popular Tamale House, located at 5004 Columbia Ave. For so many people, a little taste of home at Christmas comes in masa stuffed with meat, bundled up and steamed in a corn husk.

'Tamales are not only a tradition in Mexico, but across the border and have become a very traditional thing to do here in Texas,' said Jesse Moreno of La Popular.

People begin pre-ordering tamales from La Popular for Christmas before Thanksgiving. On Monday, customers walked through the doors only to find out they didn't beat the rush. Moreno had to tell several disappointed customers that they were already sold out unless they had ordered in advance.

Tamales are time consuming to make at home, so even people who know how to make them often prefer to order out.

'At home it's usually a 20 hour process time to make tamales from start to end,' Moreno said. 'We have it down to a science where we can make a batch in one hour.'

To keep up with the demand, La Popular will open for three hours on Christmas Day for people who pre-order. The store will open at noon on Christmas Eve and sell tamales until 7 p.m. or until they sell out, whichever comes first.

Moreno sent customers who wanted tamales today to the store's location in the Farmer's Market, but it was all first come first serve there.The Farmer's Market location will not be open Christmas.

'Two dozen and I haven't even asked the price,' said Janet Wells. 'The price doesn't matter, they are so good here.'

Wells said tamales became a part of her holiday tradition about 10 years ago.

'From just an exposure to it, plus people at my door selling them too,' Wells said. 'So, in this area it's really popular. It's probably why its name is La Popular.'

Things won't slow down in the kitchen until after New Year's Day, which is when the staff will take a few weeks break from its holiday popularity.

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