I thought I would introduce you to my favourite bit of Mérida today!
One of the things I wanted when I moved here was to live in a village within the city, one with its own “centro” and vibrant market scene. I get that in spades here in Chuburná de Hidalgo — as long as I go at the right time of day (Saturday evenings are particularly dead, for example, but Sunday mornings tend to be super busy!). When I moved here, the market and the whole area around it was undergoing a massive refurb. So while the market was still open, it really wasn’t a fun area to go to because of all the construction noise and dirt. It’s a completely different world now and I love going there a couple of times a week for breakfast, to pick up veggies, and to see what else might be going on. The market is about 800 metres (0.5 miles) from my house.
On the way, I always grab a quarter kilo of tortillas (4.50 pesos) in case the tortillería is shut on my way back.
His tortillas are sooooo good. They are made from yellow corn, not masa. Think of round yellow corn tortilla chips, but not fried. They have a very strong corn flavour and are charred around the edges. I always have one piping hot out of my bag to get me to breakfast. 🙂 Pretty much all I do with them at home is make chihuahua cheese quesadillas with them, served with a side of Mexican-style guacamole mixed with salsa verde. Comfort food at its best!
Of course, I forgot to get a picture of the outside of the market itself. This is one from November 15, when the construction was in full swing:
The food stands are outside the market and there’s a row of them. I always go to the one at the far left — it was the first I went to, the food is consistently good, and the service is great, so I see no reason to change. 🙂
I usually get two relleno negro tacos, but wanted a change today so I went for cochinita (shredded pork). I always add a cold fresh pressed orange juice. Breakfast is 40 pesos, plus a 5-peso tip.
There was a tianguis (flea market) today, so I spent more time than I’d planned going through all the racks hoping to find some clothes. I came home with a pretty dress! These are just two stands on the outskirts. There were dozens, but there were too many people around to stop and take pictures without impeding the flow of traffic!
Final stop was inside the market. A little while ago, I found a vendor all the way at the back who consistently has good zucchini, so I picked up two of those, plus a carrot and two onions for 20 pesos. While waiting for my change, I snapped a picture of the meat market. The lady behind me apparently has very good turkeys — I helped an expat lady buy one from her. Looking in this direction, the stands are to the right outside and to the left inside are a few other veggie and grocery stands. It’s not a huge market, but you can get a lot. I found some wonderful foamy sandals at this market in November that barely show any wear despite being worn daily.
Becoming a real local takes time, but now that I’m shopping a lot more in “downtown Chuburná,” I’m starting to get recognised as “belonging” here and not being a tourist. There’s a man who always sits outside his beer store when it’s open that I exchange pleasantries with, the gal at the food stand at the mercado knows my order and just asks what kind of tacos I want to day, and various neighbours and I stop to chat about little things (it’s amazing how much the locals talk about the weather!). Oh, and the tortilla man now gives me a huge smile instead of being confused by me — huge progress. 🙂
So that was my Sunday morning. Hope yours was just as lovely. Time to get to work!