Where To Get A Great Hallaca For The Holidays
It's the most wonderful time of the year: hallaca season.
Unwrapping hallacas is a lot like opening a holiday sweater from grandma. Each hallaca—like the itchy annual pullover—is slightly different, but all are dependably heavy, warm, and tend to appear around the holidays. The Venezuelan specialties are made with corn masa and filled with pork, chicken, and beef—along with peppers, olives or capers (for a briny touch), raisins, and sometimes almonds. It’s one of our favorite holiday foods to seek out in Miami this time of year, and if hallacas are on your wishlist too, here are some great spots to pick one up for yourself (or grandma).
Dulce Tropical Bakery & Café
There are a couple good reasons to go to this little North Miami spot for your hallaca fix. One, Dulce's hallaca is one of the best you’ll find in Miami. The mixture of chicken, beef, pork, and olives inside is deeply flavorful and never too dry. And the banana leaf wrapping job is secure enough that you won’t have to worry about it falling apart if you opt to cook it at home. But also, coming here means you have a great excuse to walk out with one of the best Venezuelan empanadas in town, which are fried to crispy perfection.
La Margarita Wonderfood
La Margarita is a small Venezuelan market in Doral that sells hallacas during the holiday season. Theirs are filled with a tomato beef stew, pork, and tender shredded chicken. Also involved: onions, raisins, olives, sliced red peppers, and La Margarita also throws almonds in the mix. They have a tasty vegan option too, with the same delicious filling and tiny tofu squares instead of meat. This place is takeout only, but luckily all you have to do is boil your hallaca for 15 minutes, unwrap, and enjoy. We won’t judge you if you want to lie to your friends and say you made it yourself.
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This small Venezuelan spot in South Miami has been around since many of us were in diapers, and it’s the kind of place where regulars are greeted with a confirmation of their coffee order. They sell an assortment of cakes, guayanés cheese by the pound, and serve breakfast and lunch. But around this time of year, you can throw yourself a mini Christmas party by ordering a plato navideño that includes pan de jamon, chicken salad, and an hallaca. These steamy bundles of joy are swaddled in banana leaves and come in three different options—traditional (beef, chicken, and pork), vegetarian, or chicken—and all have peppers, olives, and raisins. Somehow, the corn masa holds it all together better than those Huggies you were wearing when European Corner opened.