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10 Things You Should be Buying at Your Local Mexican Grocery Store

To treat your taste buds to something truly authentic—go to the experts. A trip to your local Mexican grocery store can be a vacation from the ordinary.

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Vegetables section of the supermarket Soriana, a Mexican public company and a major retailer in MexicoShutterstock / Anton_Ivanov

Most large supermarkets carry some products for shoppers who want to sample other cultures and cuisines. But if you’re serious about your Mexican food or looking to whip up a few inspired dishes, you need to check out your local Mexican grocery store. Here are the 10 things you don’t want to pass up.

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Mexican candy sweets cajeta pecan and coconut flagShutterstock / Tono Balaguer

Sweets

If your sweet tooth has an adventurous side, check out the tamarind candy. Tamarind has an awesome sweet and sour flavor that’ll keep you coming back for more. One popular tamarind flavored liquid candy, Pelon Pelo Rico, has a kicky spice of chilies. You can also find other unique sweets like Paleta Payaso, a chocolate-covered marshmallow lollipop with gummies. Let that sink in.

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Stack of homemade whole wheat flour tortilla on plateAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Fresh tortillas

Most Mexican grocers have a machine that makes tortillas fresh on site. Find out when they’ll still be warm still warm to time your trip just right. As a bonus, the stores that make fresh tortillas usually make their own still-hot chips, too.

You can try your hand at making tortillas at home with this recipe.

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Grocery store shelf with bottles of Jarritos brand Mexican sodas.Shutterstock / Sheila Fitzgerald

Soft drinks

You can find Mexican Coca-Cola at most stores now, but there’s much more to the beverage aisle. Soft drinks in bottles or cans come in tamarind, guava, pineapple—and even sangria flavors. Or try the horchata (we’ve got a great homemade take), a milky drink made from ground almonds, tiger nuts or rice.

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Popular Mexican Beers.Shutterstock / BestStockFoto

Not-so-soft drinks

Mexican grocers usually have a large selection of imported beer. If you’re going to the trouble to make an authentic dish, your beer choice can bring your dinner to the next level.

Try one alongside our favorite Mexican street corn-inspired dishes.

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Food from spain, chorizo sausage slices or salami pepperoni, traditional spanish tapas, overhead.Shutterstock / alicja neumiler

Meats

Sure, you’ll find an impressive selection of chorizo, but the meat section hold many more options for the carnivore. Check out the marinated carne asada or lengua (tongue).

Buy some carne asada to take a shortcut to cilantro beef tacos.

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Chicken tamalesTaste of Home

Prepared foods

Who says you have to cook? You can find a whole new world of prepared foods like tamales, beans and seasoned rice, just to name a few. Go semi-homemade—buy the beans and rice and make your own chicken tamales.

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hot peppersShutterstock / RussieseO

Hot stuff

If you’re a fan of hot peppers, your eyes will be watering at the sheer selection before they even experience the heat. Choose from such as chili, poblano, jalapeño, serrano, and chilaca chile varieties. Also be sure to check out the expanded variety of hot sauces at your Mexican grocer (and follow our tips on how to pick the best one for you!).

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Fresh green tomatillo on the marketShutterstock / halitomer

Unique produce

While you’re in the produce section, try something a little (or completely) new. Pick up some tomatillos (green tomatoes) or key limes. Or experiment with chayotes (squash), prickly pears or Nopal cactus leaves. All these play big roles in authentic Mexican cuisine.

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Close up to mexican wedding cookie in darkened kitchen counterShutterstock / Cleomiu

Desserts

Don’t wait for a wedding to pick up some Galletas de Boda (Mexican wedding cookies) or try the Concha, a sweet bread roll covered in a cookie crust and flavored with either vanilla or chocolate.

These treats might inspire you to whip up a batch of your own chocolate Mexican wedding cake cookies.

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Hot chilli sauce in the hands of the buyer at the grocery storeShutterstock / Sergey Ryzhov

Hard-to-find-brands

Looking for something really special? You probably won’t find it at your standard grocer. Mexican grocery stores, however, offer brands you won’t find anywhere else, like Herdez, La Costeña, Doña Maria, La Sierra, San Marcos and San Miguel.

Cathryn Jakicic
Cathy Jakicic has written about everything from business and bacteria to beads and baking in her career —but she greatly prefers the last two. She is a baker and a crafter and loves to try new recipes for both.
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