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, or goose barnacles, grow on hard rock and are considered a delicacy.
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 is a corn fungus that is most commonly used as a filling for tacos and quesadillas.
A mushroom extravaganza. Fresh morels, oyster, button, and portobello mushrooms sat alongside even more varieties of their dried brethren.
The most vibrant of the many exotic fruit that can be had at the market.
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.
On display behind glass like fine bottles of wine were Asian sauces and candies.
It’s not a Mexican market tour without some good chicharones—crackling fried pork skin.
Mercado San Juan
Mercado San Juan is a feast for the eyes, amazing with its gems of delicacies, the unusual, and the rare.
The caterpillars that inhabit agave plants which can be eaten raw, fried, or braised.
Edible insects abound, with Mexican favorites like chapulines (dried Oaxaca grasshoppers), escamole (ant eggs), and chicatanas (flying ants).
Acocil are a small crayfish native to Mexico and have been part of the local diet all the way back to the Aztecs.
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 waiting to be turned into osso bucco.
Nothing goes to waste in Mercado San Juan, with brains, intestines, liver, and sweetbreads of the animals sold alongside the meat.
The market boasts a ton of fresh fish, everything from the common, like mahi mahi and red snapper, to the more local, like pejelagarto.
I didn’t get the name of this fish (possibly a type of monkfish?), but it’s awesomely ugly.
Off all the fish in the market, this vendor was most proud of his two live lobsters.
Talk about jumbo shrimp—these were the largest camarones I’ve ever seen.