Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tacos and Marigolds

One of the places that I want to show my cousin and her friend when they come to Mexico City is the Jamaica Market.  With its enormous flower section (more than 1000 flower vendors) I think it is the most amazing market in the city.

I had read about one of the food stalls there which sells "tacos de carnitas", tacos with braised, flavored pork.  The place is called "Carnitas Paty", and it gets rave reviews.  I figured I would try it out to see if it would be a good place for a snack when I take my visitors to the market.

I ordered the one taco of "maciza"... the lean, chopped pork meat as opposed to the various other parts of the pig.  "Maciza" is supposedly less flavorful than the other bits and pieces, but, I'm sorry, I am not into organs.  My order was a pile of meat along with chopped onion and cilantro and three tortillas.  So I really had three tacos.

It was very messy, but quite tasty.  As in many market food stalls, the plate is covered in a plastic bag to eliminate the need to wash dishes.  Bowls of salsas and lime wedges (squeezing some lime juice on your taco is a must!) are on the counter. 

To drink I ordered a small glass of "tepache", a beverage I had never tasted before.  "Tepache" is made from fermented pineapple rinds flavored with brown sugar.  Although fermented, the alcohol content is minimal.  I thought it tasted very good.

After my snack I explored the market.  There were loads of special items for the Day of the Dead. There were skulls made of sugar or chocolate...

"Catrina" decorations...

Even nearly life-size "catrinas".

In the flower market, the marigolds or "cempasúchil" take center stage at this time of year.  The air was filled with their pungent fragrance.  Of course that is the whole idea... the smell of the marigolds will guide the souls of the departed back to their families' homes on the Day of the Dead.

The marigolds arrived by the cartload.

They arrived by the truckload.

More marigolds than you have ever seen in one place at one time!

You can even buy bags of marigold petals to scatter a path to your door to guide the souls of the departed home.

Second in popularity for the Day of the Dead is this unusual red flower.

I asked a vendor about the flowers, and she told me that they are called "terciopelo".  "Terciopelo" is the Spanish word for velvet, and they do have a rather velvety appearance.  I did a bit of research later, and found out that they are a variety of cockscomb, and that they symbolize the blood of Christ.

Although my visitors will miss the special excitement of the days leading up to the Day of the Dead, the market will still be an incredible sight with thousands of different kinds of flowers and plants.

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