Here’s where to get a taste of that traditional Christmas tamal

Visitors downtown still have a chance Thursday and Friday to score a free tamal, the traditional Costa Rican Christmas food.

The Teatro Popular Melico Salazar is handing out free tamales at 5 p.m. both days in an event that includes movies, choruses and story telling.

The theater is just north of Parque Central in San José.

This is the first year that the theater has catered to passers-by. The program is somewhat of a promotional one for orchestra performances and a ballet in the evenings.

The theater also has its Christmas tree, and its nativity scene, called a portal in Spanish.

Theater staffers dressed for the season have been handing out tamales since the end of November. These are the meat, dough and vegetable mixture that is first baked in a banana leaf and then boiled.

The Costa Rican versions are usually far milder than some similar dishes in other Latin countries that have a heavy banana leaf flavor.

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