Sunday, June 23, 2024

This Mexico City market serves up organic and local produce…with a side of chic

Every Sunday morning in Plaza del Lanzador in Roma Sur, a stylish international crowd gathers to stock up on their weekly produce, scope out the scene…and to be seen. This is Mercado el 100, Mexico City.

A neighborhood staple since 2010, Mercado el 100 draws in the fashionable, the hipster expats, celebrity chefs, discerning locals, curious tourists and gastronomes alike. Learn about the history of the trendy open-air market, its offerings, and the must-visit vendors.

Few places in Mexico City are nicer to spend a sunny afternoon than Mercado 100. (Mónica Belot)

Mercado el 100’s Origins & Philosophy

Mercado el 100’s name reflects its philosophy centered around locality, both in its vendors and its produce. With a collective of over 50 organic farmers and artisans — predominantly family businesses – the market exclusively showcases sourced within a 100-kilometer radius of Mexico City. While the Mercado’s prices are often higher than those of traditional markets in Mexico City, it’s worth checking out for high-quality seasonal produce, tasty options and unique finds (and of course, the people-watching). Perhaps most importantly, the market is pet-friendly, so don’t forget to keep an eye out for the adorable pups scampering around and socializing to the beat of live musicians playing their catchy tunes at the plaza.

Set against the backdrop of the López Velarde Park and Garden, the vendor stalls flank a spacious path, and offer everything from handmade soaps, to fresh fruits and vegetables, handmade crafts, clay cooking pots, Mayan chocolate, fresh breads and natural cheeses. Also available is prepared food for a diversity of dietary preferences, including vegan and gluten-free options. The market specializes in some hard-to-find items, like edible flowers, organic pet food, unique spices and even “medicinal mushrooms” (which we haven’t tried out yet, but intend to). Notably, shoppers will appreciate the availability of non-toxic cleaning products, rounding out Mercado el 100’s focus on health and eco-consciousness. 

Must-Visit Vendors in Mercardo 100

While every vendor at Mercado el 100 offers something special, here’s the route we recommend to make the most of your experience at the market. 

Kick off your market adventure with a visit to Señora Salsa  on the left hand side as you walk in. There, you can score some tasty baked goods, including a gluten-free banana cake generously peppered with chocolate chips for an energy boost for the stretch ahead. Make sure you try the Señora’s INCREDIBLE Salsa de Semillas (seeds) which features mild yet flavorful chile mora along with a chunky mix of peanuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. 

As her name suggests, Señora Salsa sells some of Mexico City’s most delicious salsa at her stall every Sunday. (Mercado el 100)

Head across the way to Dalias & Julietas to choose from a plethora of homegrown loose-leaf teas and – if only to impress your friends with your elevated plating skills – a selection of delicate edible flowers.

If you know anything about eggs, you know that bright orange yolks are an indicator of eggs with a high nutritional value. The eggs at Los Camperos happen to be some of the tastiest and most vibrant in town. These local treasures are sourced from organic, free-range hens, and sold at a reasonable price.  

Continue onwards to Simbiotica to pick up some probiotic treats like homemade kimchi meant to tantalize both your palate and microbiome. 

An absolute MUST is a stop at Danke Foods, where the chicos running the stall have a minimalistic three products on offer: coconut milk, coconut water and cashew milk– all homemade, and without any chemical-esque additives. This writer’s favorite, by far, is the cashew milk which has a teeny touch of natural sweetener and is drinkable by the gallon (which yours truly is not ashamed to admit she has come close to, on more than one occasion). 

Mercado el 100 focuses on more than just healthy produce, with flowers and fresh meat and fish alongside traditional remedies. (Mónica Belot)

Casa Tlalmamatla is where we like to stock up on ready-made foods for the weekdays ahead (although they’re so tasty that they rarely last more than a day in the house). Snag one of Tlalmamatla’s vegan tamales with mushrooms, and their outstanding tortitas (baked fritters). All of the options are mouth-wateringly delicious, but the ones we dream about most are the cauliflower variety and the acelga and queso (swiss chard and cheese) tortitas. 

Pick up your weekly fish smoked or fileted at Truchas el Manantial, where you can also score a bonus lesson on fish sourcing and quality from the knowledgeable owners. Their fresh trout (brook or rainbow) is ethically raised in a local, forest-based spring.

Then, mosey on over to Rancho Raudal to pick up your meaty necessities like specialized cuts of beef and lamb, grass-fed and humanely raised. We also make sure to buy their hearty caldo de huesos (bone broth), which has the proper gelatin-like characteristics that a nutritious broth should have.

Pick up your fruits and veggies throughout the market– you’ll find these aplenty, including more exotic varieties like purple cauliflower, blue mushrooms and other produce with unusual qualities.

In a country filled with highly processed food, the simple, organic nature of Mercado el 100 is a breath of fresh air. (Mónica Belot)

End your market sojourn with a very special experience — usually the highlight of our market day — at Otzilotzi, a prepared food stall specializing in clean and healthy natural ingredients. Here, you can sample dishes with a pre-Hispanic bent, including rabbit tinga, mushrooms a la mexicana, nopales (cactus) with scrambled egg, pipián con chilacayote (creamy thick red salsa with slices of figleaf gourd), and tortitas horneadas de acelga (baked swiss chard fritters). We enjoy a taco with as many toppings as it can fit. The delicious seasoning and unique ingredients are genuinely unforgettable. Otzilotzi also provides many of their salsas and toppings to-go; these make a marvelous culinary addition to any dish. 

The Perfect Sunday Spot

Grab a treat and have a seat at one of the benches in the sunshine at the end of the market path, where you can keep an eye out for many of the interesting characters frequenting the neighborhood’s Sunday meeting spot. 

The market is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., though we recommend arriving early to get the first pick of the best products. After exploring the market, consider a stroll through López Velarde Park and Garden, which borders the plaza. And If your pastry-craving is unsatiated, grab a coffee and blueberry roll nearby at Vulevu Bakery at Córdoba 234, just a stone’s throw away. Whether you’re there for the exotic blue mushrooms or the posh crowd, Mercado el 100 has a lot of something for everyone. 

Monica Belot is a writer, researcher, strategist and adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design in New York City, where she teaches in the Strategic Design & Management Program. Splitting her time between NYC and Mexico City, where she resides with her naughty silver labrador puppy Atlas, Monica writes about topics spanning everything from the human experience to travel and design research. Follow her varied scribbles on Medium at https://medium.com/@monicabelot.

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