Gallery: Market Tours: Mercado San Juan in Mexico City

  • Pulpo

    Box o’ octopus. I had a surprising amount of octopus ceviche while in Mexico City, which ended up being some of my favorite dishes from the trip.

    Percebes

    Percebes, or goose barnacles, grow on hard rock and are considered a delicacy.

    Chiles

    Ubiquitous Mexican dried chiles have their place, but they're not the main draw of Mercado San Juan.

    Meats and Cheese

    A nod to its Spanish origins, there were many cured hams, sausages, and cheese to be found.

    Huitlacoche

    Huitlacoche is a corn fungus that is most commonly used as a filling for tacos and quesadillas.

    Morels

    A mushroom extravaganza. Fresh morels, oyster, button, and portobello mushrooms sat alongside even more varieties of their dried brethren.

    Dragon Fruit

    The most vibrant of the many exotic fruit that can be had at the market.

    Bok Choy

    Representing a small Asian community and an Asian vegetable export business, bok choy, daikons, ginger, and soyu long cucumbers sat alongside more common Mexican produce.

    Asian Ingredients

    On display behind glass like fine bottles of wine were Asian sauces and candies.

    Chicharones

    It’s not a Mexican market tour without some good chicharones—crackling fried pork skin.

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    20130107-236094-mercado-san-juan.jpg

    Mercado San Juan

    Mercado San Juan is a feast for the eyes, amazing with its gems of delicacies, the unusual, and the rare.

    Maguey Worms

    The caterpillars that inhabit agave plants which can be eaten raw, fried, or braised.

    Insects

    Edible insects abound, with Mexican favorites like chapulines (dried Oaxaca grasshoppers), escamole (ant eggs), and chicatanas (flying ants).

    Acocil

    Acocil are a small crayfish native to Mexico and have been part of the local diet all the way back to the Aztecs.

    Rabbits

    Lined up by the dozens, the rabbits with their furry feet still intact were oddly fascinating and off-putting at the same time.

    Suckling Pigs and Ducks

    Suckling pigs were also in large supply. I would love to take one home and slow roast it into delicious lechon. Resting on the pigs were ducks with heads intact.

    Veal Shanks

    Veal shanks waiting to be turned into osso bucco.

    Calf Brains

    Nothing goes to waste in Mercado San Juan, with brains, intestines, liver, and sweetbreads of the animals sold alongside the meat.

    Fresh Fresh

    The market boasts a ton of fresh fish, everything from the common, like mahi mahi and red snapper, to the more local, like pejelagarto.

    Ugly Fish

    I didn’t get the name of this fish (possibly a type of monkfish?), but it’s awesomely ugly.

    Lobster

    Off all the fish in the market, this vendor was most proud of his two live lobsters.

    Camarones

    Talk about jumbo shrimp—these were the largest camarones I’ve ever seen.