Markets of the World: Mercado Hidalgo, Tijuana Mexico

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A sunny Tuesday morning my husband and I decided to cross the border to Tijuana, Baja California. Our car was left at one of the parking lots in San Diego and a short bus ride took us to the center of town.

The walk between the Centro and the Zona Rio is less than a mile. However, it took us more than an hour to walk because we were stopping to admire window displays and read the restaurants’ menus.

We started by trying to find the fish market. Since that particular market eluded us, it was time to move on to another objective: the bigger and more organized Mercado Hidalgo.

What we saw on arrival is hard to describe. In simple words, it is what I call a paradise for those who enjoy aromas, flavors and colors.

Tijuana Market 3Hundreds of stalls were densely packed with all sorts of chilies, grains, herbs, spices, nuts, cheese, candied fruit, pressed pork, mole, liqueurs and more.

Tijuana Market 1

The fruit shops offerings ranged from reddish tunas (cactus fruit) to dried tamarind. A lot of the fruit was already prepared in a sweet and sour concoction. My husband did not lose the opportunity to get a bag of fresh jackfruit dressed with chili powder and chamoy (savory sauce made from pickled fruit).

Tijuana Market 4

It was impossible not to bring something home. A young lady helped me to pick two good looking pineapples and a bunch of mangoes. On another stall, we filled a bag with jamaica (hibiscus) flowers. A kilo of hard cheese went to our backpacks too after a vendor offered some samples.

Tijuana Market 2

After hours of exploring, we took a break at one of the small restaurants hidden between the stores. We enjoyed chilies stuffed with cheese, birria (stewed goat meat) tacos and a chicken soup.

That was the ideal way to recharge before continuing with our market tour.

Details: The Mercado Hidalgo is located at 9011 Sanchez Taboada Boulevard, Zona Rio, Tijuana Mexico.

Bio: Ruth Rieckehoff writes for people interested in exploring life’s off-the-beaten-path options. Lately, she has been obsessed with wild beaches, piers and ethnic neighborhoods. Find her life, love and travel stories at her blog Tanama Tales. Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Have you been to a great local market? Would you like to share your experience?

I am accepting guest post submissions for my “Markets of the World” feature.  I am looking for 3-5 photos of your favorite local market along with a short descriptive narrative detailing the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of said market.  Please include a short bio with links to your social media profiles.

Please e-mail submissions to

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