There are an assortment of markets in and around San Miguel but by far the largest and most impressive is the weekly Tuesday Market or Tianguis del Martes (or simply El Tianguis) – held just on the other side of the Libriamento, or the ring that goes around (most of) the town. Tucked up in behind Liverpool, Soriana and the Movie Theatre, which many of you know (and every cab driver knows what you mean by ‘tianguis’ on a Tuesday). It’s an experience, to be sure. Anything you might possibly need, and a bit more.
Need a bra or a power tool? No problem. Exotic fruit, fresh seafood, glorious flowers. Warm gorditas, made from scratch and grilled in front of you. Every kind of fresh juice (including greens) that you can think of. Fresh fried (again, right in front of you) churros, organic honey, copal incense. The candies – the colors – the clothing. And the prices. How does 10 pesos ($0.80 USD) for a kilo (2.2 lbs) of fresh strawberries (just picked that morning) sound? Or 15 pesos ($1.20) for 2 kilos (4.4 lbs) of seedless Valencia oranges? How about 20 pesos ($1.60) for a pair of gently used Ann Taylor LOFT linen pants or oversize Chico’s linen shirt? Many Tuesdays (but not all), you can find fresh squash blossoms. If you’ve got a kitchen, buy some and try your hand at cream cheese stuffed squash blossoms – a real Mexican treat.
20 – 40 fresh squash blossoms
8 oz cream cheese, softened
Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Oil for frying (peanut or olive)
Rinse blossoms under tap, shake off excess water. Break long stems, leaving 1/4 – 1/2″ for a handle. Smear approximately 1 teaspoon of cream cheese deep inside a blossom, fold over. Dip in egg, roll in Panko crumbs (can be prepped and refrigerated up to 8 hours at this stage). Fry in batches, being careful not to crowd. When crispy, drain on paper towels and liberally grind sea salt over the blossoms. Enjoy!
From downtown, you can catch the number 7, 8 or 9 bus from the top of Mesones for 50 pesos and be delivered to the doorstep. It’s pretty easy, just get off when all those people on the bus with huge bags get off (you should pick one of those bags up for about 30 pesos at any almost any tienda in centro before you head out – maybe even pick up two). Or you can take a taxi for 30 – 35 pesos ($2.40 – $2.80). Even if you’re staying in a hotel or B&B – without a kitchen – it’s still worth a visit just for the experience and the stuff (probably 50%) that isn’t food. Why not pick up a dozen roses for your room (leaves and thorns removed) for 35 pesos ($2.80)? Get there early — it’s open from 9am – 4pm but can get quite crowded by 11am.
A word of caution: Make sure you carry your valuables in a waist pouch or in your front pockets – if you plan to carry a handbag, put nothing valuable in it. Like any crowded event, it can be a fertile ground for pickpockets so just be aware (but no need to be afraid if you use common sense). Most vendors don’t speak English and if you haven’t learned to count in Spanish yet, all you have to do is hold your hand out with change in it and the seller will show you the cost. You can always ask “Cuánto cuesta?” (What is the cost?) but unless you know your numbers, you won’t understand the answer. Luckily, the vendors are as honest as the day is along and if you hold out a small amount of money to them, they’ll take what they are due. Plan on an hour to two hours to get through the market, depending on how detailed you are about looking at everything. And enjoy.
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