TO MERCADO, TO MERCADO In Santa Clara, Quito

Avocado and lime seller lady outside Santa Clara mercado in QuitoCutting the meat off the pig photo by amyblogschow.comJugos sellersJenna and tree tomato jugoSausages at the Santa Clara mercado in QuitoSanta Clara Mercado vender selling ox stomachTHE DAY AFTER I ARRIVED IN ECUADOR, Jenna and the Jet Set Zero guys suggested lunch at Santa Clara Mercado, an open-air food market located around the corner from where the cast lives on a bustling commercial street.

Inside the mercado, juice sellers stand behind plastic vats of jugos while hot food sellers do a brisk lunch trade. Toward the back of the cavernous building, produce sellers watch over towering stacks of fruit and vegetable-filled boxes. Upstairs, seafood sellers, poultry purveyors, and butchers share the floor.

My group and I weaved through the market, passing whole roasted pigs on display to lure hungry passersby away from neighbors selling similar plates. Piece by piece, crispy-skinned porkers are diminished with each $3 lunch order. We finally stopped at one of these counters for a meal and chatted with the owner who told us his family has owned and operated that spot in the market for 55 years.

I’ve since made several more trips to Santa Maria mercado and each time still leaves me marveling at the Ecuadorians’ economy. How does the old lady sitting on the box by the entrance make a living by selling avocados for 25 cents a piece?

A few feet away from her, a small indigenous woman touts slippery cut-up pieces of ox stomach from a bucket. With so much to see, Santa Clara market is a feast for the eyes, so long as you don’t mind the sight of gloveless hands, ox organs, pigs feet. amy june 25, 2010

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June 25, 2010. Tags: , , , . markets, South America.

One Comment

  1. Jessica Lee Binder replied:

    When I travel to other countries, my favorite part to see is their markets. It’s a window into lifestyle and culture. Loved your pics!

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