Market Research: Mercado San Juan, Mexico City

I’ve said it before, but markets truly are my first stop when I hit a new destination. It’s such a great barometer for the food scene in a new city — from what grows in the region, to how the chefs shop, and what local foods folks are eating on their shopping trips.

Mercado San Juan gourmet market is bursting with all sorts of wild game, unique produce, and delicious seafood from Sinaloa and Baja. So it’s a must-see for any culinary traveler visiting Mexico City. Plus, it’s in the city center, so it’s easy to access even if you’re only there for a short time. I definitely recommend it for anyone traveling to CDMX.

You can of course take a stroll through on your own, but if you want an insider’s perspective, book yourself a tour with The Curious Mexican. Anais is so sweet and full of knowledge of Mexican ingredients and culinary heritage. She’s a cook, too, and all the vendors at the market seem to know her, so you’ll get all sorts of delicious free samples plus an earful of education to boot!

Anais showed me all sorts of unique stalls. One featured all Mexican made cheeses, and another Oaxacan chapulines , aka grasshoppers. I’ve had chapulines both at home in LA and in Mexico, but it was really cool to see such a variety of flavors at Mercado San Juan. They really do taste like sunflower seeds with better seasoning (hello, lime, chile, garlic and salt!), and I think Dodger Stadium should start serving them as snacks. It’s the sustainable protein of the future! Plus they’re freaking tasty.

Anyway, you can book food tours with The Curious Mexican on her site here. And be sure to let me know what you think of those grasshoppers when you try ‘em. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.