Culinary Secrets of the Mercado de Jamaica

$115 USD/person

  • Fee includes everything consumed on the walk
  • Group Size: 2-7
  • Start/End: 10:00am-3:30pm
  • Duration: about 5.5 hours
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The best way to understand Mexico is through its markets. These bustling and colorful places are where the country’s soul – culinary and otherwise – truly resides. And, in our opinion, there is no better market through which to do this soul searching then at Mexico City’s Jamaica Market.

One of Mexico City’s oldest markets, the Mercado Jamaica (the name means “hibiscus”) is also the city’s main wholesale flower market, a riotously colorful place where vendors sell everything from bright orange marigolds to deep red terciopelos. Beyond flowers, the market is also one of Mexico City’s top food destinations, home to a dizzying mix of street food sellers and small specialty restaurants. Located in what it was the southeast edge of the Aztec capital city in pre-Colonial times, the market is still outside of Mexico City’s main tourist zone, keeping it very much a true locals place.

On this walk through the market, we’ll meet its vendors and food makers, learning about how the market works and the important role it plays in daily Mexico City life. To get there, we’ll travel together on the subway to a station just outside the city center. Inside the market, we’ll visit some of the 1,500 stalls selling more than 5,000 different types of flowers coming from eight different Mexican states. We’ll also explore the market’s other sections, dedicated to fruits and vegetables, kitchen utensils, piñatas and party favors, learning about the different ingredients that are the building blocks of Mexico’s culture and its inimitable cuisine.

Our main focus, of course, will be the market’s food. We’ll start at a taqueria for an edible taco tutorial, learning about different kinds such as carnitas (deep-fried pork), carne asada (grilled steak), and al pastor (marinated spit-roasted pork). We’ll also stop at a family-run place that invented huaraches – long corn-meal paddles filled with refried beans and countless other ingredients. We’ll also try handmade tamales, the best green chile chorizo tacos of the city, blue corn quesadillas, street corn, and mutton from El Profe, a former school teacher who fifty years ago decided to leave his profession to raise his own sheep and open a taquería in the market.

After touring the market we’ll drop by a traditional pulquería, which serves a slightly fermented drink made from agave sap that was considered the nectar of the Gods by several pre-Hispanic civilizations. Once seen as a poor man’s drink, pulque is now making a comeback in Mexico City, giving old bars like this one a new lease on life and offering us another chance to contemplate – over a drink – the mysteries of Mexico.