Domingo 29 de Julio ‘A Day In the Life of Oaxaca’ PARTE UNO: Desayuno en Mercado Sánchez Pascuas


Our nearest mercado is Sánchez Pascuas, a real down-to-earth Oaxacan experience, filling up very early even on a Sunday with locals eating delicious looking ‘cooked-to-order’ breakfasts such as tamales, empanadas and memelas (topped with frijoles and queso fresco) bunched up on stools at comedores (eating counters) and catching up on the overnight news – there are television sets – and Guelaguetza gossip. There’s early morning shopping to be had too, all from 7am – every sort of richly dark mole, vats of colourful (and presumably potent) chilies, beautifully tied bows of hierbas de cocina (herbs for the kitchen – can you tell Paul’s getting into the Spanish thing – Anthony), towers of bountiful veggies and fruits, heaving tables of freshly baked breads, pastries and sugary churros… .and perhaps most confronting at such an early hour, the Carnicerías or fresh meat stands. Here whole sides of meat are hacked and hanging in the breeze whilst the tasajo, or thinly pounded strips of beef are air-dried, becoming darker over time – apparently the darker the better…then of course there are the fresh chickens, shamelessly legs-akimbo with their yellowed feet raised to the roof – no heads thank goodness, but it certainly makes you think again about having Chicken Tonight today or even tomorrow…

For breakfast we settled on some quesillo (a local white semi-hard cheese, similar in taste and texture to mozzarella, but very salty), some fresh bread rolls, two churros, apricot jam, and some freshly chopped fruits. We’ll no doubt head back in the week for some early morning tamales and eat with the locals of course.

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