I’m always blown away by the number and variety of affordably priced gems at Latin American supermarkets. These spots are perfect for browsing, learning, getting inspired and grabbing lunch on the go. Here are 5 of my favorite items from La Morenita Meat Market in Baton Rouge, one of my go-to spots. Scroll through, and if you’re a fan of the mercado, tell me what inspires you.
A good panaderia section can yield all kinds of treats, from enormous sweet buns, to oblong sandwich rolls to churros, deep-fried slender pastries sweetened with sugar and sometimes filled with a thin strip of custard. Makes for a decadent breakfast for my three kiddos.
2. Lunchbox snacks
And speaking of kids, mine love the lunchbox or after school snacks I pick up from the Latin market, including single serving flan and plantain chips.
Perhaps the most underrated vegetable out there (OK, technically fruit) is the tomatillo, a tomato relative with firm flesh and citrus notes. It’s really easy to use and adds a ton of flavor to so many dishes, including tortilla soup and white chili. Peel away the papery outer skin, chop and sauté with onions and peppers. Add to soups, stews, chilis, salsas and more.
4. Real sugar cola
Yum. And comes in lots of different flavors like grapefruit and guava.
5. Fresh garbanzo beans
Beans, in general, are in big-time supply at Latin supermarkets, from canned pigeon peas to dried black beans to fresh garbanzo beans like these above at La Morenita. It’s so satisfying to be able to buy fresh chickpeas loose and in bulk like this, free from plastic packaging. They’re healthy and versatile, and are worth preparing fresh. Here’s a great post from the blog Shockingly Delicious on all sorts of ways to enjoy them.
And then there’s lunch….
Fall into this messy goodness…tacos with a double layer of fresh corn tortillas, shredded pollo and carne, lots of pickled veggies (curtido), raw onions and douses of both spicy red and green salsa. Sloppy, filling and so satisfying.