Mercado Municipal (or City Market) in São Paulo is a produce market – lovely fruit, veggies, seasonings, meat and all. There are also restaurants – some very famous ones. We visited it in January 2017.
We didn’t know what to expect. We only went there because we wanted to have the mortadella sandwich – very famous in Brazil. And so, we went.
We had to park the car a few blocks away because everywhere nearby was full. It was fine, there are many parking lots in the area, it was easy to find one. We walked the few blocks, and I was a bit scared because all we hear are the horror stories about the area, but we were just fine. We did take a few precautions, like try not to show the phones, wear flashy jewelry and stuff.
When we arrived at the market, at the first stall, there was a pile of fruit. Beautiful, perfumed, and just delicious fruit piled in a pyramid. But then there was another, and another and another and another. All of the fruit stalls had the same fruit. Lots of them are exotic and super expensive, but sometimes they’re worth the price.
There are many other stalls. I loved the gorgeously scented seasoning stall – so many delicious smells! There was so much there, and most of it I’d never even heard of before.
We kind of run past the fresh meat stalls because of the smell.
Then there was the cured meat stall: so much fun! The sausages were hanging and they were going around and around the stall – Coral loved it. Gorgeous and super fancy cured meat from everywhere in the world. We’re not vegetarians, I think you can tell.
The staff at the fruit stalls keep calling people to try something. We tried (and bought) some yellow dragon fruit: it’s a lot tastier than the white or the pink versions. Then dates with strawberries. If you’ve never tried them, do it now. I’d already tried because my godfather Nelson bought us some and it was delicious. We were offered mangosteens too. Another delicious (but extremely expensive) fruit that we’d already tried with my uncle Nelson. And then one guy tried to sell us the golden kiwi, straight from NZ. I had a super nostalgic feeling and couldn’t help but smile – we live in NZ. The price reminded me of the many times we let a golden kiwi or two spoil in the fridge…
So here’s the thing: it’s pretty cool, but it’s also a little disappointing. Every fruit stall has the same fruit, arranged the same way. Every restaurant has the same food. It doesn’t change.
That can be both, a bad and a good thing. When you finish wandering around, you go something like ‘Is this it?’. BUT if you’re smart and try one different and expensive food in each stall, you won’t feel bad for eating the whole stall and not buying anything.
We bought 4 yellow dragon fruits and it cost us R$ 100. It was the most expensive fruit we’ve ever bought.
And then I gave 2 to my sister and ate both, one right after the other (they are delicious) – that gave me a really bad digestion problem. All I’m going to say is that I was stuck in the bathroom for a day. If you don’t want to love your toilet, I recommend you have one at a time.
Back to the market, we had lunch at Mortadela Brasil. To be really really honest, I didn’t like it. The sandwich came loaded with mortadella, but it was way too salty. The juice was way too sweet. Service was OK and even though there was a pretty big line, they were able to set a table for us fairly quickly. I wouldn’t eat there again, though. There are many restaurants selling the same mortadella sandwich, so there should be one that’s not that salty. The portions are pretty big, so 2 normal people could easily share one.
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