Yesterday we went shopping in one of those huge mega-stores that are increasingly common here in the city and becoming the plague of most North-American cities. It is a grueling experience just from the huge size of the store. We ended up exhausted from walking from one end of the place to the other and back, since we had forgotten to pickup some dental floss when we had entered the store. We have been there a few times recently as the food is around 15-20% cheaper than at our local small supermarket, especially for the household items we cannot get at the tianguis. The only drawback is that some items I like to cook with are not available as the neighborhood is different than ours and they have less foreigners living there. I normally end up walking to the local store during the week to get whatever we could not find at the mega-store.
We were looking at the fruits and vegetables available there, and were very disappointed of what was available, and even so more at the prices. Luckily we had picked up most of what we needed at the tianguis early Sunday morning. The fruits and veggies there are always much fresher, of higher quality, and very cheap compared to any store. Since there are over 100 merchants, you are always assured of finding what you want. There are also specialists that only sell one produce like limes, papayas, or bananas and they are normally better than the more general stands. They have more to lose if they have bad products on display. Even though we have only been living in this ‘colonia’ for around 6 months, we have been regular customers of some of these merchants for a few years. Since the tianguis is an itinerant street market that appears on a regular schedule on different days in different neighborhoods, we knew some of the merchants in our old neighborhood in the tianguis we had there on Mondays.
Both Normita and I love the street market atmosphere of the tianguis. You can find anything including fruits, vegetables, chicken, beef and pork, seafood, spices, and dry goods in the food stalls that make up about 40% of this particular one. The rest is divided between clothes, hardware, utensils, jewels, incense, pirated CDs and DVDs, toys, decorations, plants, etc., and of course prepared food of all kinds from ‘barbacoa’ to ‘carnitas’, from ‘mariscos’ to tacos and ‘huaraches’, and a huge variety of other food, one more appetizing than another. If you really want you can go around the tianguis and sample fresh fruits and food all morning and have a huge free breakfast or lunch that way. It really beats the reheated frozen food samples that are typically available in the mega-stores. We normally have a solid late breakfast of lamb consommÃ© with rice and garbanzos, followed by some soft tacos of juicy lamb ‘barbacoa’ or golden fried tacos. They are served with a variety of spicy sauces (green, red, and ‘borracha’) and accompaniments like chopped onions, cilantro, lime, and ‘nopalitos’ with chipotle. With a tall glass of cool and refreshing ‘agua de jamaica’ it makes for a solid breakfast that permits you to explore the tianguis on a full stomach.