Day two of my initial visit to Mexico City with Bill Esparza (Street Gourmet LA) led to Coyoacán, a funky neighborhood on the south side of the city that’s crawling with artists. In the 1520s, it was also home to Hernán Cortés, the soul-crushing Spanish conquistador who precipitated the fall of the Aztec empire, but that’s another story for a different blog. We were in the neighborhood to experience Mercado de Coyoacán, a multi-faceted market that’s dwarfed by crosstown Mercado de la Merced, but still offers more than enough culinary treasures of its own.
Mercado Coyoacan houses a number of tostada stalls, including one favored by Rick Bayless that resides near the entrance, but we continued into the building’s core to experience Tostadas La Chaparrita, which has offered more than 50 years of service to marketgoers.
We committed to a full tostada of tinga – chipotle slathered chicken and onion – dressed with crisp lettuce, fresh-shucked avocado, crumbled queso and a squeeze of mayo. It was good, but more devastating tostadas resided at the adjacent stall.
Tostada Mixtiada featured tender octopus tentacles, fresh-pulled congrejo (large crab), lettuce and the trinity of tomato, onion, and cilantro. On the side, we received two bowls of condiments: mayo folded with fresh chile de arbol and salsa de chile de arbol fresca with onion and avocado.
We also tried a tostada with queso blanco, along with spicy salsa de serrano with chunky diced onions.
Mercado de Coyoacan was full of colorful sights and flavorful bites, and we barely made a dent in the offerings, which is remarkable considering it’s “just” a neighborhood market.