Puerto Vallarta’s Wonderful Markets
One of the most important things to good cooking is finding fresh, locally grown ingredients. The experience of wandering through Mexico’s markets can be a beautiful experience not only experiencing the flavors of the culture but the flavors of the food. Two of my favorite mercados in the downtown area of Puerto Vallarta is “El Mercado de Col. Emiliano Zapata”, located on the east end of Calle Lazaro Cardenas and the other is “El Mercado de Col. 5 de Diciembre”, located on Calle Brasila, near the Panteon (cemetery).
The mercado on calle Lazaro Cardenas opens very early, at 3am, because it is a main supplier to the local restaurants in Vallarta. The seasonal fruits and vegetables are wonderful, as are the fresh herbs and even fresh juices, squeezed on the spot. Farm fresh eggs (do not put the eggs in the refrigerator!), and dried chiles and beans are also available. There are also several fresh cheese “locales” within a block that have fresh panela and queso fresco amongst others. The mercado is open 7 days a week.
My favorite place to buy fresh fish and shellfish is the mercado on calle Brasilia. This mercado is also open very early, with the freshest fish available that was caught early the same morning. In many instances you can bargain a little price wise, especially if you purchase in large quantities. Everyone is friendly and eager to assist you. Be careful when you wear sandals because the cement it is wet and constantly being cleaned. There is also a tortilleria on the south corner of this mercado for your convenience. This mercado is open 7 days a week as well. Please do not hesitate to support these local markets. It is fun, and also you are helping the local economy.
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