A friend had a story of hers published recently over at PeterGreenberg.com and I thought I'd share it here. The topic is one of my favorites - Mexico City markets, which range from once-a-week farmer's street markets, to permanent neighbourhood level traditional markets to the gigantic (600,000 sq feet!) Central de Abastos. Her story can be found here. Some exceprts...
As we always say, one of the best ways to explore a place is to mingle with the locals at the market, and that's especially true in a dynamic destination like Mexico City.
Locals Leigh Thelmadatter and Alejandro Linares Garcia share their insider market guide to Mexico City.
"I went from market to market for years, because Mexico is in its markets." - Pablo Neruda
The beauty of Mexico City's markets lies in the diversity. From antiques to livestock to authentic cuisine, there's something for everyone.
For the foodie ...
At the more food-centric markets, you will find small dishes called antojitos (cravings) which include tacos, quesadillas, filled tortillas, local specialties like barbacoa, huaraches, Mexican-style shrimp cocktails, fried bananas, fruit salads with tropical fruits and fresh squeezed juices, even beer and aged tequila.
MERCADO SAN JUAN
This is the city’s high-end food market, offering the freshest produce and the widest variety of fine cheeses and meats. With imported and domestic products, there's everything even exotic meats and seafood like ostrich, alligator, manta ray, snails and more. Fine bottles of aged tequila can also be found and chefs roam the stalls daily.
One of the city’s of the oldest, and the largest of the traditional markets, is in the old La Merced monastery. From food to housewares, this market offers a variety of goods.
The market sits near what used to be the docks that received most of the foodstuffs from all over the Valley of Mexico, when it was still filled by five lakes and the city itself was an island.
Jamaica is pronounced ha-mai-ka, and named after the hibiscus flower. It is one of the largest vendors of produce but is best known as the city’s and country’s largest cut-flower and ornamental plant market.
This market specializes in live animals (including some illegal species), dishes and party supplies.
However, what makes this market notable are the aisles dedicated to herbal medicines and the occult, including paraphernalia related to Santeria and a skeletal figure known as Santa Muerte (Saint Death).
I've been to all of these, with La Merced being my favorite. I always find something new every time I go.