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JohnnyBoy

Apr 23, 2008, 9:12 AM

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What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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I read on these forums all the time about people meeting at the tianguis on Sunday morning, or about doing "all my shopping at the local tianguis." What exactly is a tianguis and where can I find one?

I asked my Mexican partner what a tianguis is and I got the impression he did not want to answer me, which is usually a sign that he is afraid I will go there, unaccompanied, and get into some sort of trouble. He trusts me to go to Costco and WalMart and Soriana Plus, but whenever I mention downtown and the central market, he begs me not to go there.

He did answer my question, sort of. He led me to understand that they are the equivalent of a very low-grade flea market, where you can buy "stuff", but he assured me, I would not see anything there that I would want to buy and bring into the house.

I have seen, from the window of a moving car, a place up the boulevard from here, with rows and rows of very worn-looking tents and lean-to's with clothing hanging from around the edges of the ones closest to the street where I could see them. Are there treasure troves of wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables further in?

I have reported here before that so far, after a full year, I have never seen any of the open air markets with fruits, vegetables, meat, etc. like I used to see all over Italy. I read about them in Mexico on these forums. But I have not see any here in Hermosillo.

I know most of you are not familiar with Hermosillo, but is there a usual or typical part of town where these places are generally found? Maybe because it is so hot and dry here (forecast for 105'F this weekend already) these outdoor fruit and vegetable markets are not feasible here.



Rolly


Apr 23, 2008, 9:34 AM

Post #2 of 33 (7874 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Tianguis vary considerably. Some are, as your partner said, just flea markets. Some are rich cultural events with music, craft displays, local farm produce, and, of course, food.

Visiting any out door event in the summer in Hermosillo is not something I would volunteer for.

Rolly Pirate


Gringal

Apr 23, 2008, 9:37 AM

Post #3 of 33 (7869 views)

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Re: [Rolly] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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"Visiting any out door event in the summer in Hermosillo is not something I would volunteer for."

Lordy, no. 105 F? Gasp.

Another thought: By all means, go and get the flavor. But there will probably be a fair share of pickpockets, so leave your wallet at home.


jennifer rose

Apr 23, 2008, 9:38 AM

Post #4 of 33 (7870 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Your Mexican partner is right on this count. Listen to him.

All right, go to the public market and see for yourself. At the larger public markets you can find everything from machetes to produce to freshly butchered meat. It's better to go there fairly early in the morning, because that's when the pickings are better. And it's much cooler then as well. In many areas of the country, the itinerant vendors who set up at a tianguis are long gone by noon. In many areas, the open-air market is a traveling one, setting up in one location on certain days of the week and in another on other days.

Hermosillo is a civilized town. You won't find a tianguis in Pitic. They're usually located where the customers are -- in poor areas and areas not served by supermarkets. In the days before supermarkets were invented, those kind of markets were where everyone had to shop.

Now, while I can guarantee you that others on this forum will chime in, insisting that shopping at the tianguis or the public central market is the best thing since sliced bread. Sure, it's an experience, and it can be interesting. But I maintain that you can find better prices and better produce at your local Costco, Walmart, Soriana and other stores which have expanded shopping hours and air conditioning.

These aren't quaint farmers' markets like you might find in the San Francisco Bay Area where yuppies daven over their heirloom potatoes. The vendors don't buy their produce and wares directly from the field; they buy it from the central wholesale market just like everyone else.


esperanza

Apr 23, 2008, 10:08 AM

Post #5 of 33 (7860 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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We just came home from the Wednesday tianguis near our house in Morelia. We rarely shop anywhere else for produce, fresh meat, and flowers.

The dangerous gang of thieves and pickpockets we saw this morning included patient, well-mannered housewives, children volunteering to help carry my bags (for a peso or two), and the regular tianguis vendors. Gosh, we were terrified. What BS!

Tianguis is the Nauhatl word for market. In today's Mexico, the tianguis is a movable feast--literally. On Mondays the vendors go to one site, on Tuesdays another, on Wednesdays they come here, and so on through the week.

Some people, particularly in the north of Mexico, use the phrase mercado sobre ruedas (market on wheels) instead of tianguis.

IMHO, the only place to buy fresher produce is at the abastos (any town's central wholesale market). Rather than go to the abastos, which is a bit far for me to travel, and buy a wholesale quantity of vegetables, I prefer to shop retail (which is barely above wholesale) at the tianguis.

Here's what I bought this morning:
3 triple-size pork chops for stuffing..........................................60 pesos
1/2 kilo bacon, sliced to the thickness we prefer.........................30 pesos
1/4 kilo lard...........................................................................5 pesos
1/4 kilo chicharrón prensado...................................................10 pesos

4 large mangos......................................................................15 pesos
1 small watermelon.................................................................16 pesos
1 large canteloupe...................................................................9 pesos
2 bananas..............................................................................2 pesos
1/2 kilo strawberries.................................................................7 pesos
1/2 kilo guavas........................................................................8 pesos

1 large avocado.......................................................................7 pesos
Small head broccoli...................................................................3 pesos
Large bunch cilantro..................................................................3 pesos
Big handful chile serrano............................................................3 pesos
1 kilo rice (Buena Vista)............................................................20 pesos
6 freshly baked REAL bolillos......................................................15 pesos
1/2 kilo fresh tortillas del comal....................................................6 pesos

Grand total: 219 pesos. Everything is so fresh it squeaks. I'm heading to the kitchen to cook the pork chops for comida, with the broccoli and some of the rice, and a pitcher of agua fresca de guayaba.

Some tianguis (the word is the same in both singular and plural) offer clothing, CDs, DVDs, plastic goods, household items, shoes and everything else you can think up. When I lived in Guadalajara, I bought ALL my clothing at the tianguis I frequented, but that's another whole story. One example, though: I have on my feet at this moment a pair of brand new Birkenstocks, Birks that had the hang tag still on them when I bought them. I paid 80 pesos for them at the tianguis.

Remember that we are not talking about a central market. We are talking about a TIANGUIS, which sounds a lot like what you saw, with canvas roofs and booths.

Here's what I think: ignore your partner's fears, ignore Jennifer's nay-saying, and find the tianguis nearest you. Give it a try. Some are better than others, but I bet you'll love ONE of them.


http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









(This post was edited by esperanza on Apr 23, 2008, 10:10 AM)


thriftqueen

Apr 23, 2008, 10:10 AM

Post #6 of 33 (7859 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Jennifer's description of Tianguis is right on. Unfortunately in Sonora we are far from the vegetable growing areas so that means there are no real bargains to be had in the fresh produce line. When I visited Guadalajara a couple of summers ago I was so jealous of the wonderful selection of produce that was offered for sale at reasonable prices.

Most of the towns in this area hold their Tianguis on a designated day or days. Example, Navojoa has theirs on Friday and Saturday at the local baseball stadium. Alamos has their on the arroyo on Sundays. When we first came to Alamos there were several produce vendors with a good selection. Now it is more like a flea market, selling used household goods and clothing from the USA as well as cheaply made Mexican clothing.

You had mentioned in prior posts about visiting with some of the locals, ask one of those where the Tianguis is held and on what days. I bet it is held either on Saturday or Sunday due to Sunday being the Mexican day off in our part of the world.


alex .

Apr 23, 2008, 10:27 AM

Post #7 of 33 (7848 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Its a place where you can buy used stuff that poor people don't want anymore.
Alex


bournemouth

Apr 23, 2008, 10:38 AM

Post #8 of 33 (7842 views)

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Re: [alex .] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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It seems to me that tianguis can either by the weekly produce market with other useful things also sold OR a flea market. There is a huge flea market/tianguis on the old pereferico as you are heading to the border through Nogales. There one might expect to find things that maybe are a tad "hot" - fell off the back of a truck if you get the drift. I think the further north you go in Mexico the more likely it is to be a flea market type of thing. Here in Ajijic, the tianguis is the weekly market. Lots of produce, fish, meat etc. but also clothing both ethnic and from NOB, plus useful kitchen items and other household goodies. I would imagine that Hermosillo has various weekly tianguis locations as the city is somewhat spread out.


tashby


Apr 23, 2008, 11:28 AM

Post #9 of 33 (7829 views)

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Re: [esperanza] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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"Some tianguis (the word is the same in both singular and plural)..."

Thank you for that, Esperanza. I was about to go out on my dumb-limb and try dropping the "s" to make it plural.

Anyway, this thread is funny and a lot like a tianguis....little bit of everything. I always make it a point to visit the tianguis wherever I am, just to have a look. Who knows? I might come across that bootleg CD I've been looking for. Or the perfect Wedding Dress. Or a good used carburetor....


RickS


Apr 23, 2008, 1:23 PM

Post #10 of 33 (7802 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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"He trusts me to go to Costco and WalMart and Soriana Plus, but whenever I mention downtown and the central market, he begs me not to go there."

Although I am quoting John here, my comment is more of a general one.... a feeling I had when I read this....

If I were in a 'place' (physical or mental) where my choice was to only go to Costco, WalMart and Soriana Plus and never to be able to visit a tianguis or central market, I think I would just pack it up and go back to Detroit!

The Costco's of the world have their place and are a welcome addition to the scenery. But to miss the interaction, the sights, the smells (YES, the smells!), and the outing of a local market trip would diminish the experience of living in Mexico for me. And no, I don't have on Rose Colored Glasses and don't consider myself naive.....


Don


Apr 23, 2008, 1:56 PM

Post #11 of 33 (7794 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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We shop the tianguis every Saturday here in Sayula, Jalisco. We have a very large tianguis that covers many city blocks very near the central plaza. We buy all our fresh fruits and vegetables right from the fields at the tianguis. We also get great cheese and fresh fish, spices plus many more items. We have a Walmart Bodega in town and they can’t compete with the prices and freshness of the fruits and vegetables from the tianguis. As a matter of fact, the tianguis runs right in front of our house and we have met many of the merchants selling in the tianguis. We still buy some items at Walmart, Costco, Sams, Price Club, etc, but we always buy our fruits and vegetable at the tianguis. The only exception is when we are driving through some small farming towns. We went through El Paso Real, Jalisco a week ago and bought some great melons from the workers loading their trucks to take to the large markets. We bought fresh melons straight from the fields. Watermelons for 5 pesos each and Cantelopes for 2 pesos each. Can’t beat that freshness or prices.


(This post was edited by Don on Apr 23, 2008, 2:00 PM)


JohnnyBoy

Apr 23, 2008, 2:01 PM

Post #12 of 33 (7788 views)

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Re: [RickS] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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I have to agree completely. I am constantly on the lookout for interesting, local things to see and do. Just because my partner tends to be a little overprotective does not mean I necessarily let him succeed at it. Not all the time.

In fact, I have been to the central market several times. I have tried to get down there as early as I can (which for me is about 9am.) and try to get a seat in with the other viejitos who are always down there drinking coffee. I keep hoping one of them will speak to me and I can get into a conversation. More often than not it is the curious youngsters who speak to me, wondering what in the world I am doing around there.

But I am definitely going to find one of these tinaguis. I know now that that place up the boulevard here is a tinaguis. And I am going to go. Will leave my wallet home, taking some earlier advice.

Like you, Rick, I am not going to let anything deprive me of an opportunity to experience Mexico. Warts and all.


drmike

Apr 23, 2008, 2:44 PM

Post #13 of 33 (7776 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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We sometimes go to the Sunday tianguis at Valle de Bravo. What a neat place! Last week we bought the most flavorful and juicy Gooseberries (I call them blackberries) and fresas that are so sweet. We also bought dried gourds to carve.

One stall had a crate of baby chicks (maybe 50 chicks) dyed blue, red, orange and green. There was a CD/DVD booth next to them blasting music and the little chicks seemed to be dancing to the music, their heads bobbing up and down.

As others previously said, you can find most things there, with prices that may be a bit more than the major supermarkets, but the fun is in the energy of the market and the people. We have never had problems with pickpockets, etc. We go and enjoy.
Dr. Mike

http://www.smarthealthchoices.blogspot.com

There are hundreds of paths up the mountain,
all leading in the same direction,
so it doesn't matter which path you take.
The only one wasting time is the one
who runs around and around the mountain,
telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.


Hindu teaching



bournemouth

Apr 23, 2008, 2:52 PM

Post #14 of 33 (7774 views)

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Re: [drmike] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Gooseberries and blackberries are far removed from each other - I'd love to know what it is that you actually bought.


jerezano

Apr 23, 2008, 4:52 PM

Post #15 of 33 (7756 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Hello:

bournemouth said:>>Gooseberries and blackberries are far removed from each other - I'd love to know what it is that you actually bought.<<

I too wonder what he bought. So I looked up gooseberry in my Oxford Spanish Dictionary. There it says grosella or espinosa uva (grape with spines). I like this last definition which is a pretty good description. It goes on to say that an unwanted third person (like a chaperon), is called a grosella. I like that definition too. The bush is called grosellero. I have no idea what gooseberries are called here in México nor have I ever seen them here. In fact I haven't seen any of them any where since my adolescence in California, at least 65 years in the past. We kids used to eat them all the time but I can't remember where we robbed them from.

Hasta luego. jerezano.


wendy devlin

Apr 24, 2008, 7:59 AM

Post #16 of 33 (7703 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Hopefully this thread demostrates the variability of the 'tianguis' around the country...and why, they are likely to continue for some time to come.

No one so far has mentioned tianguis like the ones held twice a week in Tonala.
Here some of usual items and suspects as forementioned are present...but also a myriad of artesanal objects, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Sure there are many many shops featuring such items and tallers behind, producing more of the same, still I appreciated the tianguis...where so much is hauled onto the street...a smorgasbord for sight, smell ...and taste...if one considers the sheer amount of food vendors who set up for the day.

Most fortunate discovery to find a group of women, hand-making blue masa in which can be described as toasted 'pockets' into which, selections from about 15 savory steaming ceramic pots could be scooped.

Regretably, my stomach could expand to only handle two:)


drmike

Apr 24, 2008, 8:45 AM

Post #17 of 33 (7686 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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I was raised in Georgia, my wife was raised in Illinois. I've always called them blackberries, she told me they called them "gooseberries" where she is from. I was deferring to her, but like you I think there should be no confusion. They were very large, juicy and full of flavor and, I'm 99% sure they were blackberries. That is what I've always called them. I just hope the market has them Sunday when we go back.

Thank you two for correcting my error.
Dr. Mike

http://www.smarthealthchoices.blogspot.com

There are hundreds of paths up the mountain,
all leading in the same direction,
so it doesn't matter which path you take.
The only one wasting time is the one
who runs around and around the mountain,
telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.


Hindu teaching



Georgia


Apr 24, 2008, 11:20 AM

Post #18 of 33 (7656 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Amen, Jennifer. With one exception: when I visit Patzcuaro I do go to their produce tianguis - Michoacan is apparently the kitchen garden of Mexico and they do have some wonderful, fresh, and varied vegetables - just like Wal Mart.


Georgia


Apr 24, 2008, 11:25 AM

Post #19 of 33 (7657 views)

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Re: [Don] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Interesting thread. Here in Jalisco, due to its distribution system, we find that Wal Mart offers the freshest and most varied produce. The tianguis stuff is "past expiration date" and the stores' keep stuff until it literally rots. If you happen to get to the store right after the veggies are brought in from the abastos market in Guadalajara you might score a hit with some fresh things, but it's hit or miss.

In Jocotepec there are a couple of things I depend on the tianguis for: outrageously fun underwear, especially around New Year's, that is also cheap (three pairs of panties for 20 pesos, you can't go wrong) and CD's and movies.


whistler

Apr 24, 2008, 11:11 PM

Post #20 of 33 (7606 views)

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Re: [Georgia] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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I love the Tangeis markets in Morelia - those that sell produce, not the flea markets. I am too cautious to have tried the meats there, but I find the fruits and vegetables much fresher, much cheaper, and in much greater variety. Often when I want a specialty item, like ginger or fresh, bulk Spanish peanuts, I can only find it in one of the big supermarkets, but more often the big market dont have fresh stock of a common item that can always be found in the Tangeis. And, best of all, since I live alone, I can buy small quantities.

The Tangeis markets are one of the reasons for living here. Now if they only had shopping carts...


Linda in Morelia

Apr 25, 2008, 6:27 PM

Post #21 of 33 (7539 views)

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Re: [whistler] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Whistler,

I am familiar with the Mercado Revolución and the Mercado Independéncia in Morelia, but are there other places you buy your fresh produce?


esperanza

Apr 25, 2008, 9:02 PM

Post #22 of 33 (7521 views)

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Re: [Jim and Linda] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Jim and Linda, try the Sunday tianguis over by the Obelisco, at the westernmost end of Madero. You'll faint from joy. Given the heat, I'd go at around 10 AM.


http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









colibri1

Apr 26, 2008, 9:20 AM

Post #23 of 33 (7479 views)

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Re: [esperanza] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Could you post some pictures? I'd like to faint from joy long distance....I miss the tianguis up here in Puerto Penasco, Sonora.
Gracias,
Marianne


whistler

Apr 26, 2008, 10:17 AM

Post #24 of 33 (7464 views)

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Re: [Jim and Linda] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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There are many markets that are open one day a week in a given location. These markets are in some ways more fun and interesting than the mercados you mention. One is off of Acqueducto Blvd, just to the north, on a street running north-south, beginning at the Aqueducto road. It starts several blocks west of the Toyota dealer. Tuesdays only.


bournemouth

Apr 26, 2008, 12:36 PM

Post #25 of 33 (7446 views)

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Re: [whistler] What exactly is a "tianguis" and where can I find one?

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Whistler - you are talking about Zapopan, right or wrong?
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