Skip to main content

Anatomy of a Trip, Oaxaca: Mercado de Abastos


I was told when I first arrived in Oaxaca, on Saturday mornings, when people come into the city from the countryside in droves, to sell and to buy, that Abastos Market could very well be the biggest market in Mexico.  And if anything would intimidate me about a city, that would be it.  Never fond of crowds, it was a scary prospect.  So Saturday did not find me at Abastos but, instead, on a Tuesday morning I flagged down a taxi outside my hotel and embarked on a less intense, but still huge, market adventure.

Located just outside Centro, the historic city, Mercado de Abastos, also known as Central de Abastos, it is huge, indeed.  Housed in interconnected warehouses and adjacent outdoor spaces, the taxi driver dropped me at the entrance on one side and after a couple of hours I emerged on the other, amazed by the volume and variety of goods I’d seen.  If it’s available in Mexico, my guess is this is where you’ll likely find it, and lots of them.

Chapulines, all sizes, here grande.

I’d heard rumors, but was introduced to chapulines, a Oaxacan snack food and ingredient in cooked dishes, in person at Abastos, although they may very well have been the secret ingredient in food I’d already eaten, unbeknownst to me.

From ‘The Hungry Traveler: Mexico, by Marita Adair:
Chapulines (cha poo LEE nehs). Dried grasshoppers…a specialty in Oaxaca …protein-rich dried grasshoppers also turn up in restaurants serving pre-Hispanic specialties. When served or offered by restaurants or street vendors, they are usually meant to be (served) with alcoholic drinks…

 More Protein


Eat your fruits and vegetables.


Corn husks & banana leaves to wrap tamals.


Chiles, seeds, beans, bread and…


…piloncillo, brown sugar cones.


A small chocolate factory.


Lots of Pottery


Lots of Hats



Next week, a postscript.



Click here for links to all episodes of 'Anatomy of a Trip: Oaxaca'

To read others of PortMoresby’s contributions, click here.



Images (34)
  • OAX9-1
  • OAX9-2
  • OAX9-3
  • OAX9-4
  • OAX9-5
  • OAX9-6
  • OAX9-7
  • OAX9-8
  • OAX9-9
  • OAX9-10
  • OAX9-11
  • OAX9-12
  • OAX9-13
  • OAX9-14
  • OAX9-15
  • OAX9-16
  • OAX9-17
  • OAX9-18
  • OAX9-19
  • OAX9-20
  • OAX9-21
  • OAX9-22
  • OAX9-23
  • OAX9-24
  • OAX9-25
  • OAX9-26
  • OAX9-27
  • OAX9-28
  • OAX9-29
  • OAX9-30
  • OAX9-31
  • OAX9-32
  • OAX9-33
  • OAX9-34

Add Comment

Comments (0)

Link copied to your clipboard.