The Hard Life of Los Angeles’ Street Tamaleros*

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  08.07.09 | 10:55 AM ET

Photo by JOE M500 via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

We’ve written before about the sometimes tough plight of L.A.’s taco trucks. Fortunately, taco trucks these days are ascendant—thanks in part to the mobility patterns of young urbanites.

So let us now turn our attention to L.A.’s Mexican street-food vendors. They’ve never had it easy, what with gang battles sometimes raging around them and the watchful eye of health inspectors threatening their livelihoods.

Public radio’s Marketplace recently put together a fine little profile on the struggles of one tamale vendor who works the tough neighborhood of MacArthur Park.

Tamalero Antonio, who sells tamales out of a box mounted on a tricycle, told the show: “It’s dangerous. It’s very, very dangerous. You have to be careful with the gangs, you have to be careful with the police, you have to be careful with the cars. There are a lot of dangers in the street.”

(Via Boing Boing)

* Update 4:16 p.m. P.T. Speaking of dangers, today’s L.A. Times reports that at least 22 taco truck operators have been robbed at gunpoint in East L.A. in the last three months. (Thanks for the tip, Eli.)

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