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“An exciting adventure in humble surroundings....”
Review of Mercado Hildago

Mercado Hildago
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San Diego City and Tijuana Deluxe Combo Sightseeing Tour
Ranked #1 of 12 Shopping in Tijuana
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
94 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“An exciting adventure in humble surroundings....”
Reviewed 17 October 2013

If you want a mini-adventure, this is the place for you! Since 1955 Miguel Hidalgo has been the center for fresh produce arriving in Zona Rio/Zona Centro. Taking up a whole city block, the mercado is two floors of commerce surrounding a parking lot where shopper’s cars mix with refrigerated box vans and open produce trucks.

There are mercados municipales from here to Tierra del Fuego, and this is no different – you’ll find all kinds of fruits, vegetables and meats, along with a vast assortment of spices, seasonings, kitchen implements, and serving items. As the mercado serves the local population, prices are lower than anywhere else in town.

Looking for a tortilla press? Got ’em, in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Hand-wrought copper cauldrons and tubs? Got ’em, in all their sun-blazed glory, stacked outside one of the tiendas. Glassware? Got it, from restaurant-sturdy to hand-blown artistic. Flatware, enamelware, crockery – they have it all. They even supply taco joints and cafés with plaper plates and boats, napkins, and even the little wax squares for wrapping tacos! And one place is full of beautiful ceramicware that is painted by hand and looks like family heirlooms.

In front of a great little seafood joint next door to some of the best chicken tacos around you’ll find fresh agua de coco still in the coconut shell. Surrounded by piles of coconuts in the outer pulp on one side and the empty shells and husks on the other, the cocodero uses his special machete to hack the coconut open, pour the water into a bag and whip the bag closed around a straw, then scoop out the snowy white coconut and bag that too – mixed with lime, salt and chile sauce. The couple of dollars spent is worth the show alone.

We get our dried chiles from huge table-top bins that hold every kind of chile you can imagine. Scoop it up and bag it for pennies (well, for quarters). Shelves are lined with real vanilla extract in a half-dozen differently-shaped bottles. One shop only sells panoches – candies and candied fruit (including pumpkin and yams, and a special treat that is a coconut confection in a candied lime rind – yum!). I usually buy several bags of sweets, since the stuff keeps for a long time without refrigeration.

And if all that food around you makes you hungry, you’ll find some great eating places just a few steps away. Inexpensive, they serve all the normal meals, along with seafood, chivo (goat) and pastor (pork off a rotisserie spit). There’s a big bargain liquor store too, where you can find dozens of different tequilas.

When it’s time to find the restroom, look to the center of the parking lot, where you’ll see a small building. For this public restroom, you buy a token (good for either the ladies’ or the men’s room), along with toilet paper. Don’t forget this important point!

Visited May 2013
2 Thank bazi43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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102 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Long Beach, California, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Need a Piñata?”
Reviewed 5 September 2013

This place is awesome it has everything from traditional spices to medicine and great candy! We tend to find great candy here for our upcoming kids parties, as well as traditional decorations for occasions like day of the dead or Christmas. There's parking available or you can walk in, there are also restaurants nearby that have pretty decent food. There are these two older men that sell huaraches and can get you a pair that fits you without needing to fit you for anything its crazy. Need a piñata? You'll find it here, they have so many some even make you one specifically for you.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Laura P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Springfield, Oregon, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
Reviewed 23 May 2013

This is a colorful market with pinata stands, food stands, kitchen goods and restaurants. Make certain you visit the restaurant on the south end of the market....They make their own salsa and the torta was like none I've ever had. Plus the male owner speaks english!!! The smells and sounds...so much fun!!!

Visited May 2013
5 Thank Alicia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“off the beaten path ... but real mexico”
Reviewed 12 March 2013

We stumbled upon this market while driving through TJ to cross back into the US. Great market. Traditional Mexican food (bulk SPICES, dried fruits and veggies, fresh exotic fruits, vegetables, cheeses); household items -- grinding stones, baskets, pinatas, clay cookers etc..(not what you'd find in WalMart -- and Yes, TJ has Walmarts now...). I love this place. If you are a foodie or love culture, you need to go. Hard to guess you're less than 10 miles from the US border and So. Cal.

Visited May 2012
4 Thank Gray T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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