The town of Juchitán de Zaragoza is southeast of the city of Oaxaca, set deep in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a region of Zapotec origins. Its marketplace is one of the most fascinating in all of Mexico.
In this enormous two-story space, you can find all of the products typical of the region known as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec: fresh foods, beverages, traditional dishes, representative costumes, folk art, jewelry, cooking utensils . . . to mention only a few of the local products.
Brown-skinned women vendors and the Zapotec language prevail up and down the aisles. Conveying strength and with an expression of resilience on their faces, they cut meat, sell mezcal, prepare tlayudas (the local oversized tortillas), and attend to visitors. Some women carry enormous cooking vessels on their heads that contain the traditional iguana tamales. A Zapotec delicacy!
There are no set rules in this market; the only must is to remain alert and be willing to taste exotic flavors. Green or yellow redcurrants have a super-sour flavor, but they are so typical they can’t be missed. Other basics are green plum water, banana bread, chile-flavored cecina (salted dried meat), dried fish, garnachas (thick corn dough served with salsas), jars of fermented fruit, and of course the renowned balls of Oaxaca string cheese, which are known locally as queso de hebra or quesillo.
On the second floor the market features traditional clothing and folk art typical of the Isthmus.
Address: Calle Reforma and Efraín R. Gómez
Hours: 6:00 to 20:00
Town: Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca
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