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Public Markets

mercados publicos mexico cityMexico City's Public Markets are as vast and varied as the city's hundreds of neighborhoods. In fact, many neighborhoods are centered right around their own distinguished public markets.

The history of Public Markets is a long, long history of trying to control the rather more anarchic tianguis system of simply buying and selling anything and everything in the streets. The very history of the city is, in some measure, a history of shepherding more and more vendors into an increasing number of central marketplace buildings.

From the most famous, like La Merced, to many lesser known markets, they're terrific places to learn about Mexican food, culture, and neighborhoods.

That one special vendor.

Many of the best-known markets are in fact best-known because one vendor has been specializing in one prepared food there for decades. It helps if you can find out what that dish is before you venture in.

If you're just there for lunch, look for a fonda, often like a lunch counter, and right there inside the market. Look for those serving lunch on china dishes as these tend to be for permanent residents, and those selling food most successfully.

Many of the best fondas offer the classic Mexican prix-fixe menu called the Menu del Día daily. This is typically offered to you as Comida corrida, which translates to something like "Food on the Run." This is rather a sub- estimation and does not do it justice, as it's often some of the best food you will get in the city. But there you have it.

And don't be too quick to judge the plastic plate stuffed into a plastic bag. Though humble, and obviously a strategy to avoid dishwashing, some of the most famous tostadas in the city are piled high above these very plastic plates. Enjoy them at the Coyoacan Market.