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True Mercados

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
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San Jose, California
posts: 4
True Mercados

I'm visiting Mexico City in mid-March and would truly like to know where I can find a mercado where I can find truly authentic wares - not the overly commercial kind. Also am interested in finding indigenous Mexica centers to learn more about the pre-columbian people, preferably centers run by Mexicas.

Whittier, California
posts: 1,362
reviews: 11
1. Re: True Mercados

Hello Ninernoe,

In the D.F. there are many markets. At least one in each "colonia". These markets are divided in sections for produce, meats, etc. With the "globalization" the things have changed a lot. For example, I wanted to buy a special potato slicer made out of wood (and I am sure there's a market with a vendor with such slicer) but the ones I visited in my "colonia" now are made of plastic or stainless steel with the legend "made in China". Some of the markets in Mexico City that still keep part of the traditional México are el Mercado de Sonora, el Mercado de Jamaica amongst others which are famous for their specialties: Mercado de la Viga (fish), Mercado de Granaditas (shoes), Mercado de San Juan (regional objects and food), Mercado de San Ángel (flowers), and so on...

About the cultural centers you are interested on I am not sure about the existence of those in Mexico City but there are many in the surroundinngs states of Puebla and México (Estado de México) like the Centro Náhuatl de Educación Superior Cuauhtlatoatzin (in Cuetzalán, Puebla) or the Centro Ceremonial Otomí (in Temoaya, Edo. Mex.).

If you want to try some Pre-Columbian dishes the Restaurant Don Chon - Regina 160, is a very famous place where you can find some celebrities.

Have fun!

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 5,983
reviews: 15
2. Re: True Mercados

I don’t know of any mercados in Mexico City that fit the description of what you say you’re looking for. The “tianguis” and markets in the Colonias are like open-air supermarkets with food and housewares for sale not much different than what you see in large grocery stores. If you want crafts from around the country, Ciudadela is the market I suggest you visit. The Federal District has the largest concentration of indigenous peoples, more than any other place in the country. They’re spread-out though amongst the 23 million metropolitan area residents. The Xochimilco district and nearby areas have some better preserved culture of the indigenous if you’re looking to visit one of the small towns. If there are mercados operated by non-Mexicans, I don’t think I’ve seen any in the city. The Don Chon recommendation in the post above is a good one, for people interested in pre-Colombian meals.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Yucatan Peninsula
posts: 18,470
reviews: 54
3. Re: True Mercados

I didnt get there, but the Toluca market is supposed to be very authentic. There were piles of goats with fur and armadillos at the San Juan market. Not sure whether or not you would consider it commercial - but to me a football stadium sized market filled with just pinata fillings (and the herbal, witch market part) made the Sonoma market interesting. As a shopper, I can tell you Cuidadella had a good mix of authentic crafts and very commercial touristy things. The market in the Zona Rosa had a better selection of jewelry but at much higher prices. The best silver I found was in the gold jewelry stalls near the Zocalo. Prices close to what we pay in NYC for Mexican silver, not the ridiculous prices they ask anywhere I've been in Mexico!

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 5,983
reviews: 15
4. Re: True Mercados

Toluca reportedly has the largest market in the state of Mexico, and one of the largest in the country. Friday is the busiest day, and people from many surrounding villages/towns show up to sell food they’ve grown, crafts, etc. The colonia mercados – such as Sonora and San Juan often offer the same merchandise for sale, with some specific variations. For example, Mercado Sonora has a large section of merchandise for shamen and people with alternative beliefs/healing methods, and it’s the city’s largest market of endangered species and other animals sold on the black market. Mercado San Juan (actually there are a couple in the same area) features many items that draw the city’s Asian community and city residents looking for the freshest chicken at the lowest price. But, as markets go in the city – they’re similar to the others. Ciudadela is where I recommend people go for crafts.

For a look at Toluca, including some of my photos of the Friday market there, copy and paste the following web address into the“address” bar on your computer:

community.webshots.com/album/117104037anKqzH

My Mexico City album at that webshots.com address contains some photos of Ciudadela and the chicken market portion of Mercado San Juan.

San Jose, California
posts: 4
5. Re: True Mercados

Gracias por la informacion. I will take up your advise.

San Jose, California
posts: 4
6. Re: True Mercados

Companeros, Gracias por la informacion de mercados. Thanks for your recommendations on the mercados to visit in Mexico City. Your information was extremely helpful and we found La Cuidadela to be exactly what I was looking for. Thanks to you, I was able to bring back some very nice recuerdos de Mexico.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 5,983
reviews: 15
7. Re: True Mercados

Thanks for checking back, and letting us know you had a good time. La Ciudadela's a great market, and you've now learned.