Grocery Shopping in La Paz
Settling into a new place, whether for a week’s vacation or a months-long getaway, eventually you’ll want a break from taco nights. Wondering where to pick up some basic ingredients for breakfast or who has that bottle of wine you love? Read on for all the best tips on groceries, from a local!
** Note: The businesses I’m recommending in this article can be quickly found on Google Maps and are easily accessible from La Paz Centro.
Where to buy veggies
You’ll notice a lot of homogeneity in the produce offerings at the local and regional grocery chains, such as Chedraui, Aramburo or Soriana; largely the same vegetables will be found at each, only varying slightly in quality and availability. Personally, I find Chedraui to have the most consistently fresh and stocked vegetable selection, but Aramburo is very walkable from downtown and the decor life-sized cow they have above their doorway is often dressed up to mark various holidays! Outside the spectrum of ingredients common to Mexican cuisine - think tomato, onion, cilantro, chilis, avocados, etc. - you will want to check out our modestly-sized but impressive farmers market.
Every Tuesday and Saturday there is the Mercado Organico y Artisanal (MOA) on calle Antonio Rosales, on the block that’s between calle Francisco I. Madero and Mutualismo. Grab a ready-made meal while you stroll and shop for your dinner ingredients (pro tip: try the gorditas from the lovely family selling on the north side of the street; and the earlier the better, as their most popular flavours can sell out quickly). Martin is the most well-known and well-stocked organic produce vendor (and he also sometimes has organic chicken available, by request); you’ll find him in a large tent near the top of the street, closer to Madero.
Where to buy protein
Fresh fish comes in from local and national sources each morning and is presented directly to consumers in the Mercado Municipal General Nicolas Bravo. Buy your fish whole or ask the fishmonger to fillet it up for you (pro tips: clear eyes indicate a fresh fish, and Google the local names for various fish before you go). The prices per kilo can vary between the vendors, so shop around for that sweet spot between quality and price.
For beef, I’d say to head straight for the Carniceria El Tecuan - a large white and green building on a corner that always has a short lineup of folks waiting outside to be served. This is a great place primarily because of the quality of the Sonora-farmed meat, but also because the names for the cuts of meat as we know them in Canada or the USA will mostly be recognized by the staff here (not the case in most of the regular grocery store butchery counters). Get the rib eye (trust me!), and immediately start dreaming about the sound of the bbq sizzling under your marbled two-finger cut.
Where to buy bread
Ask any extranjero or extranjera (a foreigner, or non-mexican citizen) who has lived here for more than a month or two, and they’ll say that they’re on the hunt for bread reminiscent of home! Well, most people’s search ends at Dolce Romero: decent baguettes with a bit of that french crunch, lots of great dessert bakery items, and the best and most reasonably priced sourdough in the city (comes in traditional plain, as well as varieties like rosemary or nuts & seeds).
Honorable mention goes to Pan d’Les Bakery for their english muffins and their must-have eclairs in a very comfortable european home bakery setting. There’s a few tables there where you should definitely sit down and put that fresh eclair straight in your face, before taking your muffins home!
Where to buy wine/alcohol
Believe it or not, the local grocery store Aramburo has a very decent tequila collection at reasonable prices, as well as shelving the most popular Baja wines from the Guadalupe Valley growing region (Pro tip: some restaurants will allow you to bring your own wine, but call ahead to ask and confirm whether there’s a corking fee).
But, if you want selection and possibly some of your favourite wines that you know from home, definitely head to La Cava del Patron. The owner and staff are bilingual and knowledgeable enough to make recommendations or provide background on the various Mexican spirits for sale.
Speaking of the history and culture of mexican spirits, if you want to take it to the source, definitely reach out to Lalo and Johnny at the Mexican Spirits Club (not on Maps, but look them up at www.mexicanspiritsclub.com). They offer tasting & pairing experiences, or you could simply visit their shop for a bottle purchase. The guys have been working directly with local and artisanal producers for years, and love sharing their love for mexican culture through booze and food!
By: Terri Lynn Manna