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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.