When in Mexico…Visit the Mercado!

When in Mexico…Visit the Mercado!

What’s more Mexican than a mercado?  It’s full of colors, flavors and smells of Mexico!  Probably every city and town in Mexico has one and for Tijuana, Mercado Hidalgo has been around for over 60 years supplying all sorts of foods, crafts, pottery and natural remedies.

Getting there

Mercado Hidalgo is in Zona Río and is a 20 min walk from Revolution Ave or 10 min in car/Uber/taxi from the San Ysidro border. The map below shows walking options from Revolution/Sixth Street intersection.

Exploring the Mercado

Mercado hidalgo is about the equivalent of one block squared.  Within it, you can find spices, herbs, piñatas, candy, cheese, fruits, veggies, restaurants, dishware, souvenirs, clothes and many other things. If you’re feeling up to it, there’s plenty of new flavors to try!

Mexican Candy

Not everyone likes Mexican candy because of its sweet and spicy nature. 🙂  If you’re ok with that, then I highly recommend the Pollito Asados and Pulparindos to take home!  If you want to try something on the spot, then look for the big buckets of candy mixed with Chamoy or the sweeter caramelized fruits.

Cajeta is another Mexican favorite, it’s kind of like caramel but made with goat’s milk. You can buy candies made out of it or by it by the pound/kilogram.

Candied fruit and coconut sweets (cocadas) are also very popular and are easy to buy just a few to try.

Grabbing a Bite

Not only is a mercado a place to buy goods and candy, you can also eat there!  Mercado Hidalgo has at least 6 little restaurants and there’s even a few good tacos joints within a block. Here’s a few for starters:

  • La Oaxaqueña – Oaxacan style food including tamales, tlayudas, and quesadillas with blue corn tortillas.
  • Cuatro Etnias – Traditional plates with an upscale modern twist and a mixology bar!
  • El Rincón del Oso – Traditional Mexican soups, birria (beef soup/tacos) and guisados (dishes of the day).
  • Tacos el Gordo – This taco spot is just across the northwest corner of the mercado and they serve up a variety of meat tacos including Adobada and Carne Asada.

Bring it Home or Eat it there?

Just remember not everything is allowed back to California.  The government has quite a few restrictions on meat, fish, vegetables and fruits for personal use.  For the meat/cheese/fruit/veggie department it’s best to just buy enough to eat while you’re there and only bring home the packaged foods.

Here’s a few interesting fruits you can try:

  • Tuna – Tuna is Spanish for Prickly Pear and if they are in season, you can find them de-skinned and ready to eat.
  • Lychees – these are like big white grapes with a seed in the center, very sweet.
  • Granadilla – If you’ve ever tried boogers, the consistency is similar, but the taste is sweet, just crack it open and eat the gooey inside. 🙂
  • Coconut – You can get fresh coconut milk and meat in a baggie for the road!  Your choice if you want to add chile and lime. And don’t forget to try coconut candy!
  • Fruit Cup – Usually you can find vendors who sell fruit cups ready to eat and can include mango, cucumber, jicama or tunas. You can also request it with lime and chile!