Friday, February 25, 2011

My First Mexican Supermarket

I just did the math for what I spent yesterday. I went a little crazy at the grocery store (tho I didn't bring back any beer or buy an ice cream cone). I wandered around a bit first, to see what there was. I read some ingredients (grasa vegetal is veggie oil, figured that one out just fine...), lusted after some baked goods, and eventually filled my little shopping basket.

So I picked up:

  • 2L diet pepsi
  • 1.5L water
  • 2 rolls
  • some snazzy bread
  • .5L veggie oil (123 brand, like they have at Save-a-Lot sometimes)
  • Small queso (of questionable origins)
  • 10 flour tortillas (w/ grasa vegetal) (M$8, or about 65 cents US)
  • 1 Huge white onion
  • 2 big roma tomatoes
  • 2 small zucchini
All that cost me M$85.50 (give or take a couple centavos). Which sounded, seriously, like I had gone way way way over budget. I mean, it's 85, right? That's almost 100, which is waaay too much. I have a food budget (until I figure out my way around Mexico, and maybe learn some Spanish...) of $5 a day. I spent $7.01 yesterday, which really isn't bad when you figure that I bought just about everything I wanted.

Best part of the Mexican grocery store experience? Wandering into the produce department and seeing huge piles of fresh, ripe, "exotic" fruit and veg, then realizing that not only were the prices in pesos (at about 12peso:1usd), but they were for kilograms.

I admit, I had a similar moment in NZ at one point, but I think it was over the abundance and variety of white potatoes. To give you an idea (again, 12 pesos/us$), onions were m$11.90/kg so mine was m$3.63, tomatoes (romas, I don't remember the others) were m$24.90 (thats like $1us/lb!) and I paid m$5.35 (they're cheaper at the market, I suspect), and zucchini was m$14.90, so I paid m$2.38. If I'd have skipped the soda, cheese, and baked goods I'd have been out of there for less than $3, including my bottle of water!

Of course, the place I'm staying (snazzy 4-bed dorm all to myself- guess the other people here wanted private rooms...) cost me us$10.25 for the night, with breakfast, wifi, and some staples included (lentils, rice, pasta). I totally took advantage of the pasta to make my dinner, which might even be cheap enough to eat back home.

Tasty Mexico Pasta Thing
  • 2-4oz pasta (elbows here)
  • 1/4 lb zucchini, chopped
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • half a big onion, chopped
  • 1tsp veggie oil
  • ~2oz soft mild cheese, chopped (mozz would probably work, as would that queso fresco stuff they sometimes have at the grocery store)
  • salt
Cook the pasta. While that is going, saute the zucch and the onion in some oil. When the pasta's just about done add the tomato to the other veggies and cook until just soft, and salt the veggies. Toss the pasta and veggies together w/ the cheese, and either eat as is (with warm, melty chunks of cheese), or heat it a bit until the cheese melts better, or bake it for a bit to melt the cheese, or use shreds that melt *much* better. Meaty- types could probably do this with some kinda chicken or even (if you can find it cheap) duck. I actually think this would be *really good* with roast duck, like leftover chunks tossed in near the end.

So Yeah, I survived, and I have food left for today (I think cheese, tomato, and onion quesadillas for later). I can *totally* do this.

If I, you know, stop buying soda.


  1. Is the camera working? Because I'd love to see pictures of Mexico and your little domicile.

    Definitely would love to see pics of the markets?

  2. Yep! I grabbed a shiny new camera yesterday on the way to the airport, and as soon as I figure out how to take not-shaky photos, I'll start getting them up here.

    I have a (probably really blurred) pic of this really cool building across the street from my hotel/hostel, and a (again, really blurry) shot out over the city to the (tiny) bit of water visible from here, waaay out there.

    Probably not so much excitement today, though. I'm gonna take a nap and try to catch up on all the sleep I missed last week before exploring the city a bit. I'll try to get some pics, since I'm thinking about going to the mercado 23.

    I totally should have grabbed a pic of the pasta, tho, it was yummy.

  3. Any pics would rock. :-)

    I'm glad you got a new camera. My camera has a neat anti-shake setting. And a thousand others that are hard to figure out.