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If You Like Flea and Farmers Markets, You’ll Love Mexico’s Tianguis

Mexico Food + Drink Culture
by Matador Creators Mar 21, 2023

Wandering around local markets is an excellent way to get to know a destination. In Mexico, there’s a particular type of market called a tianguis that’s especially worth visiting.

A tianguis is a type of open-air market that’s existed in Latin America for centuries. Similar to a flea market or farmers market, tianguis are generally held weekly, often on a specific day of the week, in an outdoor setting such as a plaza. Vendors gather to sell an array of goods, ranging from food and clothing to household items and handmade crafts. In addition to providing a place for people to exchange goods and services, tianguis also serve as social gathering places.

Tianguis can be visited in various cities across Mexico, from Mexico City and Oaxaca to Cholula, Zacatecas, Tijuana, and beyond. In many cases, these markets are held on specific days like Sundays or Thursdays in certain neighborhoods or plazas. Alternatively, there may also be larger regional markets which take place at certain times throughout the year.

Although a tianguis is typically seen as being more similar to flea market than a farmers market due to the fact that many of the products at tianguis are not locally produced or grown but rather bought and sold by individual vendors, there’s still plenty of opportunity to sample local food at tianguis. Depending on the location, visitors may be able to find a variety of fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, as well as prepared foods like tacos and tamales. Regional specialties may also be available, such as mole sauces in Oaxaca or chili peppers. Prices for these types of items also tend to be cheaper than the supermarket.

The most famous tianguis in Mexico is probably El Tianguis Cultural del Chopo in Mexico City. This market has been a mainstay of Mexico City life for decades and is considered one of the most important places for cultural exchange in the country. Visitors can find handmade crafts, clothing items, jewelry, music, and more at this market every Sunday. The beautiful colonial city of Guanajuato also hosts one of the most popular tianguis in Mexico, El Tiangus de Valenciana, where locals flock to buy handmade crafts and clothing items.

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