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Tamales Olmeca Brought Some Of The Best Tamales In Town To Striking WGA Writers

Owner Yunia Funes Mata Brought Tamale Magic To The Amazon Studios Picket

By Dolores Quintana 

Yunia Funes Mata is the owner of Tamales Olmeca, which is an amazing pop-up that sells some of the best tamales in Los Angeles. She calls them “Ancient Treats in Modern Times.” I first tried her tamales over a year ago when she did a pop-up at Baker’s Bench, another great pop-up selling vegan croissants and pastries in Chinatown and I was impressed and delighted by the tender and flavorful ingredients in the tamales. 

Mata recently fed the line of striking WGA writers at the Amazon Studios picket, and I asked her a few questions about how that came to pass. 

Dolores Quintana: How did you end up feeding the striking writers?

Yunia Fumes Mata: Revolution Carts, the people who sponsor my cart, reached out to me and said, there are these strikers, and we want to provide lunch for them during this hour. They wanted to provide something that was quick. They didn’t want to do anything like tacos, they wanted something that was just quick and to the point.

 So they thought of me, and they said, we know that you’re very quick and efficient. We want to make sure that we give them something that we believe they will like. Especially because they’re there and they’re doing something meaningful. So yeah, I said, I completely understand. And so I basically said, yeah, so it’s like, no, for sure. Because of my job, I have to pick and choose, but for them, there’s always a cause for me. It was important. 

Dolores Quintana: Obviously, your tamales are delicious and tamales are filling, so that’s perfect. 

Exactly, exactly. 

Dolores Quintana: It’s perfect. Yeah. They’re hot. They’re filling. People are gonna love them. I was just wondering, what types did you bring?

I brought queso con rajas and carnitas and salsa verde 

Dolores Quintana: Nice.

They all got passed out. 

Dolores Quintana: About how many did you pass out?

I passed out 175 tamales. 

Dolores Quintana: Wow. Wow. 

I try to get the best of the best in terms of quality. So even the produce or the meats, it was a lot. But again, when you do it for a cause, you don’t feel it, you just go with it. 

Dolores Quintana: It’s really cool. That’s why I wanted to spotlight that you had done that.

I got to talk to them. They were much more excited about the tamales and they were genuinely happy. I could have asked more about what was going on, but I just felt like, it was, almost like a break for them. This is so much more interesting to them, it was something that they had never seen. So to just even be able to distract them, or do something that would allow them to breathe a little bit. It was pretty cool. And, they wanted business cards, they wanted all the things and that was really cool. They were very grateful they said thank you so much. You don’t have to do this and you’re here. And I said, no, I absolutely do have to do this. People think you get to choose things. But also there’s a responsibility for you to do what you do and give to people. Give that nourishment.

Dolores Quintana: Is there anything that coming up for you? You mentioned that Revolution Carts got you over there to feed the writers. I noticed on your Instagram that you mentioned you might be doing in Venice. Is that something like a project that’s coming in the future?

Yes, so right now, I’m trying to get a set location in Venice, just so there’s one place where people can actually find my food. I want to do that, but as a storefront but only once a week. It will be definitely on Saturdays. I am shooting for Venice because it’s important that people know about you, but it’s important to find new people who don’t know [about your food].

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