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10 things to do in a Oaxacan market

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

The culture and tradition behind each of the municipal markets within the state of Oaxaca is so broad and diverse that it would take a lifetime (or more) to get to know each and every one of them perfectly; but, if one thing is certain is that among all of them there are certain characteristics or similarities that they share, from flavors, aromas, colors and energies. Here we offer you a brief overview of the main attractions that you could start with when visiting one of the many markets in the state.

1. Try a delicious tejate.

From the Nahuatl word textli (dough) and atl (water), this drink is a must for any visitor to a market; its refreshing cocoa flavor makes it a perfect ally on a sunny day. Its traditional way of elaboration makes clear its ancestral origin, since it is made at the moment and by the hands of expert cooks without any kind of preservatives. You will undoubtedly enjoy it a lot, so much that even hunger may disappear from your stomach.

2. Visit the flower area.

If there is a scent inside the market that hypnotizes you, it undoubtedly comes from the fragrance of freshly cut flowers; generally from nearby communities, they adorn the environment with their beauty and aroma. Ideal to decorate your table or to offer them as a love offering for someone you care about.

3. Enjoy some memelas.

Generally it is difficult to choose between all the options when you want to try something in an Oaxacan market, but a tip: try some memelitas in any of its presentations; either with beans, salsa, cheese, quesillo, egg, hierba santa, etc. Because of their size and flavor they are an excellent way to enjoy the flavors of corn accompanied by other products of the land and the best part is that the chances of filling yourself with one are very slim, so you can keep exploring and tasting.

4. Buy regional bread.

It is not necessary to wait until the season of the dead in November to enjoy a tasty bread and its respective chocolate or coffee, this pleasure is present every day of the year in all Oaxacan markets. You can choose among the varieties of yellow bread, yolk bread, casserole bread, serrano bread, sweet bread and many others, none of them will disappoint you.

5. Taste the emblematic regional sweets.

Jamoncillo, lechecilla wafer, pineapple, coconut, borrachitos, gaznates, mueganitos, empanadas; they are all very good so the choice is up to you. In recent times some of the producers have opted to offer miniature versions of all of these for those looking for a little bit of everything.

Hungry and thirsty? have a chilacayota water.

The balance in this drink makes it almost perfect to quench your thirst in every way. Prepared from a pumpkin and sweeteners, this drink contains the pulp of the aforementioned vegetable, so its effectiveness to satiate you is 100% guaranteed, but beware, this could get in the way of your plans if your intention is to continue tasting more snacks.

7. Stock up on some quesillo.

Call it quesillo, string cheese or Oaxaca cheese, but if you visit the state and don't try it, you might as well not have come. You can find it in quesadillas, complementing a dish or simply as a snack.

8. Satisfy your hunger with a squash blossom quesadilla.

If you are still hungry you can't miss the opportunity to try this delicacy; prepared over a comal fire with handmade tortillas, the aforementioned quesillo, the flowers and sauce to taste.

9. A little dessert? ask for a snow.

For the midday heat there is no better remedy than an ice cream; my recommendation: burnt milk with tuna.

10. Talk to the vendors.

After all that has already been explored, one of the greatest gifts of this adventure is to be able to exchange a few words with the people behind the comal or the counter, they usually always have something nice or interesting to share with you in addition to their exquisite creations.

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