2ᵃ Calle de Ernesto Pugibet 21, Colonia Centro, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 2248 6633
One of the most surreal experiences in Mexico City has to be visiting Mercado De San Juan, a very sui generis market that offers the most eccentric ingredients and products in all of the city. Visiting and taking in the sights and smells is quite an experience, but if you happen to like crocodile, lion, warthog, and other types of exotic meat you might actually have a delicious meal too! These big public markets serve the purpose of providing smaller markets around the city, and other food retailers, like restaurants for example, with the quality products they are looking for at an affordable price. But the cool thing about these markets is that they’re open to the public as well, so you can go in and purchase just one article if you feel like it.
Icky or gourmet, your opinion in regards to the exotic ingredients at the market really depends on your type of personality; conservative people might not be open to trying some nice crocodile tostadas, but somebody else with an adventurer spirit might be at least open to the new experience. The Mercado de San Juán has a couple of locations, that are very close to each other as a matter of fact, one that’s located a couple of blocks north of Metro station “Salto del Agua” on Ernesto Pugibet street, the other location is right outside that same Metro station, on the corner of Arcos de Belén and Eje Central. The first one seems to be more focused on these exotic ingredients, plus it has a few restaurants outside focusing on preparing these ingredients and presenting some pretty exotic and tasty dishes.
The stalls inside the market will prepare dishes as well, such as in the case of La Baguette de Manolo, which prepares a delicious lion hamburger, and sandwiches of crocodile and buffalo. These specialty baguettes might be a little pricy, but you can have one and a glass of clericot for less than $200 pesos. The market, in general, is also a great provider of fresh fish and seafood, some of which are difficult to find in other markets. You’ll see among the locals and tourist foodies the chefs, sous-chefs, and gastronomy students purchasing stingrays, crab legs, and other mollusks.
A particular restaurant that’s worth mentioning is La Cocinita de San Juán, which is located right outside the market, on that same sidewalk as the main entrance. It’s owned by Felipe Hernández, who had 45 years of experience selling exotic meats until he decided to open his own restaurant. The place offers more elaborate dishes than the ones inside the market, for example, the dish of boar with a sweet and sour sauce made of figs, raspberries, and pear dipped in red wine; or there’s the taco made of escamoles (the larvae of ants) cooked in butter with epazote (a Mexican herb). Truly a gastronomic experience, the Mercado de San Juán is visited by thousands of food tourists and adventurers every week.