Few countries have such an extensive variety of tamales as Mexico, where they're considered one of the most beloved traditional foods. Almost every region and state in the country has its own kind of tamal. It is said that there are between 500 and 1000 different types of tamales all around the country. Some experts estimate the annual consumption in hundreds of millions every year.
Tamales are a favorite comfort food in Mexico, eaten as both breakfast and dinner, and often accompanied by hot Atole or Champurrado, maize-based beverages of indigenous origin. Street vendors can be seen serving them from huge, steaming, covered pots (tamaleras).
The most common fillings are pork and chicken, in either red or green salsa or mole. Another very traditional variation is to add pink colored sugar to the corn mix and fill it with raisins or other dried fruit and make a sweet tamal (tamal de dulce). There are commonly a few "deaf", or filling-less, tamales (tamal sordo), which might be served with refried beans and coffee.
Instead of corn husks or plantain leaves, banana leaves are used in tropical parts of the country such as Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz, and the Yucatán Peninsula. These tamales are rather square in shape, often very large— 15 inches (40 cm) or more— and thick; a local name for these in Southern Tamaulipas is Zacahuil. Another less-common variation is to use chard leaves, which can be eaten along with the filling.