I have seen many public markets all over the world, but the ones in Mexico keep amazing me. You can buy anything there, from speakers to car parts and from food to clothes and flowers.
Some public markets are so huge you can get lost! And it is sheer impossible to get to know them in a day. Others are cute and rural with only a few products. But they all have in common that they are affordable and the food is fresh.
Do you visit public markets when you are in a foreign country?
Sometimes they are well organized, but most of the time they are dark, small corridors stuffed with goods and people and a paradise for thieves, so you have to watch your stuff.
But my experience is that the merchants are friendly and willing to share knowledge of products and even recipes if you show interest in their products and for you knew herbs or veggies.
A few tips for when you do visit a public market:
try to build a bond by returning to the same merchant if you visit often, this way you get the best products for sure and they will offer specials.
buy only products that look fresh, go to busy places so you know the flow of goods is constant and they have to stock up with fresh goods regularly
don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know, some herbs and fruits or vegetables but even meat and fish may look strange, so how to prepare them?
go early for meat and fish, this way it is still fresh and not on the table for hours
watch your back, busy crowded markets are a good place for pickpockets
I love visiting local markets and especially public markets
You recognize a public market easily, it is busy, there are plenty of street vendors outside the building and lots of public transport gathers there.
I have sorted 9 impressions of public markets around the south and east of Mexico, so you get an impression of what is happening inside those sometimes obscure buildings with small corridors. (Click on the images to enlarge them)