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May 6, 2008 01:17 PM

Markets of Mexico DF

I see references to Mercado La Merced and Mercado San Juan--what are your favorite markets in Mexico DF for chowing? Why? Are they open daily, just week days, or just weekends?

We're really looking for prepared food, since we won't have time or a place to cook. Thanks!

Eat_Nopal did a previous post linking to a government database of 500+ mercados/tianguis, but that's rather too much for me to parse--any specific favorites out there?
Eat_Nopal's post:

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  1. He he you probably already know my preferences....

    La Merced & San Juan are by FAR the most iconic, important in the city.... La Merced as a popular market.... and San Juan as THE market for exotic & high end ingredients sold in a pedestrian environment.

    After that... many visitors enjoy the Coyoacan Saturday market because of the Art, Prepared Foods... and just the entire District

    Another mention would be the Colonia Tlanemex (Tlanepantla) Wednessday Night market so that you get a glance of a straight up blue collar tianguis in a very safe & friendly neighborhood.... also lots of good prepared foods you don't find easily in the Tourist Corridors... Lamb Intestine, Bull testicle & Veal sweetbread tacos, creative Mexicanized burgers etc.,

    1. I drove by La Merced today and it looked great. La mercado in Coyoacan has some serious food. I had esquites there and it blew me away.

      1. For chowing, I don't think either the La Merced or San Juan markets offer anything very special, or much different than other municipal markets in the city. These markets are more important as far as foodstuffs sold (the type not yet prepared) is concerned.

        An excellent market for chowhounds to eat at/in is San Camilito, a restaurant-stall only market situated adjacent to Plaza Garabaldi - where you'll find about 30 small places from which to choose.

        You'll likely find the small restaurant operations in any one of the marketplaces a worthwhile location for having a meal. Many of the street-side tianguis spread about the many colonias of the city can also be excellent places to stop for something to eat.

        I don't know where you're going to be lodging yourselves, but some of the markets with the small restaurants may not be convenient to where that is, they may have hours inconvenient to your eating schedule and/or they may not be safe to travel to after dark. You'll find many other places at which to eat, located in places other than the markets.

        If you don't possess the abilities to communicate in Spanish get yourself a phrase book and do some studying before arriving.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gomexico

          Thanks, Mercado Merced ended up having mostly chicken soup, huaraches, and birria when we were there Sunday. The stuff we tried didn't knock our socks off, and the market struck us as very similar to markets we've seen before in Mexico, just larger. Honestly, if people have already seen markets before, I'd recommend skipping it because we felt like we wasted the morning. We ended up having some pretty good tacos and tortas at a group of street food vendors outside the Hidalgo metro station. After lunch, we noticed tons of torta shops there around the corner of Colon and Reforma, some of which claimed to have been making tortas for the better part of a century.

          1. re: SteveG

            I think it depends on your interests. Even if I can't shop to cook, there's nothing I'd rather do than visit a market in Mexico. I've been to hundreds and it would need to be pretty sad (like the one in La Paz) for me to feel like I've wasted any time. And almost always, there's a vegetable or clay pot or herb I'm interested in, especially from the older Indian women who sit with their wares on the outskirts. I'm getting ansy and thinking I need a trip soon just thinking about it.

        2. I'm wondering if there is an up-to-date online list of food markets in Mexico City. If not, I would love to hear your recent recommendations for food markets. We will be staying in Polanco.

          Opinions on the mercado de Medellin, which I believe is fairly close to Polanco?

          Are the main food markets open daily and if so, what time do they begin functioning? Closing time?

          What about weekly markets? I've read about a bi-weekly organic (?) market, the Mercado el 100, and a Monday market, the Cervantes, but I am ignorant of any others apart from the one in Coyoacan mentioned here.

          Are there any interesting supermarkets in the city center or surroundings?

          I've not been in Mexico for so many years and am so looking forward to my visit this fall!! Any online sources that you all recommend for markets, food, and restaurants would be much appreciated. I can read a bit of Spanish and speak the language pretty well.

          8 Replies
          1. re: erica

            Mercado Medellín isn't very close to Polanco. It's located in Colonia Roma Sur. There are a number of interesting places to eat within, led by Ostionería La Morenita; and in the surrounding neighborhood, one is spoiled for choice.

            1. re: Anonimo

              Thanks. I'd like to learn of any links to lists and descriptions of the various daily and weekly markets, along with opening days and times. I plan to be in the city for a week, with food as a focus.

              1. re: erica

                I live in the DF but am currently out of town. When I get home early next week I will post again with info.


                1. re: cristina

                  Cristina: Having read many, many of your impressive and information-packed posts, I would be most grateful for your addition to this thread.

                  My copy of the Nick Gilman guide arrived yesterday and I have quite a few entries marked, including the San Juan market.

                  1. re: cristina

                    Cristina, I would love to read your thoughts…please.

                1. re: foodinspace

                  It's pretty up scale, but nice. And just a couple of blocks from Maximo.