Things to do in Oaxaca: market culture (part two)

Central markets: 20 de Noviembre and Benito Juárez
In the heart of downtown Oaxaca, Mercado 20 de Noviembre and Mercado Benito Juárez, across the street from one another, focus as one large market that spills out into the surrounding streets, although different types of goods are sold in each.  Benito Juárez sells mostly food, while 20 de Noviembre contains mainly handicrafts and comedores.

The comedores in 20 de Noviembre are a great place to eat all kinds of Oaxacan specialties, from bread and chocolate in the morning to mole, enfrijoladas, chicken soup, and more in the afternoon, and barbecued meat in a different aisle.  It’s difficult to have a bad meal in the comedores: ask a local for their recommendation, or choose any that looks busy.

Cimg0582

comedor in Mercado 20 de Noviembre
photo (c) Ron Gurantz, 2008

For dessert, get the best nieves (Oaxacan-style ice cream) in the city at Chagüita in Benito Juárez.  Try the elote (corn), queso (cheese), and leche quemada (burnt milk) flavors.

Because of their central location, these markets are heavily trafficked by tourists, and as a result, prices of handicrafts tend to start slightly higher than elsewhere.  However, locals do shop for many of these goods here as well. 

Cimg0590

fruit sold in the street outside 20 de Noviembre
photo (c) Ron Gurantz, 2008

Weekly tianguis
Many neighborhoods have a weekly tianguis, where vendors set up in a park or a set of streets.  The largest of these is set up in the llano (also known as Parque Juárez) on Friday, selling everything from clothing to food. 

The llano (Parque Juárez) holds the largest of these in the city on Fridays; the smaller Pochote Organic Market on Friday and Saturday at the Xochimilco church has some of the best food stands, including a stand selling baked goods, pesto, and Korean dishes run by an Italian-Korean couple.

Outside of the city, there are also tianguis held every day of the week, where people from surrounding towns come to shop for everything you can imagine.  The Sunday market on Tlacolula is one of the biggest, and families come from dozens of surrounding towns.  Not only do they shop but they make a field trip of it, roasting meat in the market and picnicking in the churchyard.  If you are interested in Zapotec dress, language, or culture, this market is a great place to see it.

Cimg0690

looking down an aisle in the Tlacolula market
photo (c) Ron Gurantz, 2008

Dsc00794

woman shopping for meat in the Tlacolula market
photo (c) Andrea Barchas, 2011

Dsc00785

 a stand in the Tlacolula market
photo (c) Andrea Barchas, 2011

Dsc00142

vegetables in the Tlacolula market
photo (c) Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein, 2008

Market days:

Date Location
Monday
Tuesday Atzompa
Wednesday Etla, Zimatlán
Thursday Zaachila, Ejutla
Friday Ocotlán
Saturday Mercado de Abastos (Oaxaca City)
Sunday Tlacolula

 

The mother of all markets: the Central de Abastos
The largest permanent market in Oaxaca, the Central de Abastos, is truly huge.  If you can’t find it here, you probably can’t find it in Oaxaca.  Vendors fill the halls and spill out onto the surrounding streets, especially on Saturdays.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s