I love a good open air market. If food is sold there, even better. If there is organic food and produce? Fantastico! Every Fridays and Saturdays, the courtyard of the church in Xochimilco (simply called Iglesia de Xochimilco) becomes a fun organic market for a few hours. I’ve been going there every week to get my tomale fix, and to buy fruits and vegetables.
All last week I had been dreaming of this delicious mole negro tamale from this sweet lady but when I arrived little after 13:00, she had already sold out of ALL of her tamales. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Of course there were other options for food and I could have had a memela or a tlayuda, but I had my heart set on those tamales!
In the photos below, tlayudas are the big ones, they’re like Mexican pizzas found everywhere around Oaxaca. For a quick snack, I get its cousin, memelas or memelitas that are much smaller in size. They lay out all these different ingredients and you get to choose the topping/fillings you want. At this market, I tried a memela with frijol (black bean sauce), huitlacoche (a type of fungus that grows on corn, totally edible/yummy) and quesillo (Oaxacan “string cheese”). They are quickly grilled on a comal (a flat griddle) until the cheese melts.
The ladies there told me that their salsa de tomate asado (roasted tomato salsa) was spicy so I put that on top of my memela. If I had more courage, I would have tried the salsa de chapulín though (salsa made with ground grasshoppers).
Not wanting to give up on my tamale quest, I walked over to a different open air market (tianguis) in Parque Llano (it’s only open on Fridays), but sadly they weren’t as good. So I returned again on Saturday to Pochote Xochimilco for another try.
I have now tried all 4 types of tamales this lady makes, and my favorites are chepil (a local herb used in Oaxaca- photo of tamale de chepil is below, it’s also known as chipilín) and mole negro with chicken.
I don’t have a kitchen here so I’m not able to cook at all, but I love buying these small heirloom tomatoes to munch on. I got this giant bag full of them for 10 pesos ~$0.67 USD. I love this country!
There are also artisans that sell their crafts at the market and one can easily find beautiful tapetes (rugs), huipiles (traditional blouses), and ceramics, etc. But well, as my interests are usually on the food stuffs I skip most of those. I wonder if I’d ever get tired of tamales….??? Can’t wait for Friday!