Would you believe that UNESCO honoured Oaxaca for its Intangible Cultural Heritage to Humanity solely for its food! There are food stands and hawkers everywhere here, in places whole laneways are packed with locals munching on a dizzying array of delicious looking snacks, cooked in situ – some perhaps more delicious looking than others…
Chapulines – crunchy, salty, spicy and garlicky (so we’re informed) deep-fried grasshoppers. Not for the faint-hearted and I’m afraid, not for us as yet. Perhaps we’ll brave up in the coming weeks and succumb. We have to keep asking for our mole to be ‘sin chapulines’ which is inevitably greeted by a wry smile and a knowing nod.
Tamales oaxaquenos – steamed in banana leaves and filled with the shredded meat of your choice, some kind of corn paste, and a sweet, but also slightly bitter black mole. It’s actually delicious and made even more exotic when eating it for breakfast in the Mercado with hundreds of noisy locals, musicians inevitably making even more noise. A definite winner and we’ll be back for more.
But the standout in the bustling Mercado is the fruit and veg selection – (more on this to come) here, stalls heave with fresh abundance and it’s all so incredibly cheap. We stocked up on a week’s worth of fresh supplies and it was less than $10. There are chickens galore here too, though again, I’ll pass on the feet thanks.