The Mercado de Comidas is your best bet in the Merced if you’re looking for prepared food, comida corrida, or the like. In fact, it’s probably the most like a traditional market with more “wet” food. This is as opposed to the Nave Mayor‘s preponderance of “dry goods.” The building is also sometimes called the Mercado Merced 2000, although as an official name, it’s never quite caught on.
Remarkably for a building of this size, it’s also somewhat difficult to find. The image above is not really fair to the many enchanting interiors you’ll find inside. But this is what it looks like from the outside. Some visitors will actually walk right past thinking it’s a factory. There are multiple entrances, and very few that you won’t be permitted to use.
At the very north of the building is a section for which this market, perhaps the whole of the Merced, is justly famous.
The Mercado de Comidas is home to many of the city’s leading retailers in produce, butcher cuts, fowl, fish, and food. Many of them do wholesale business from here too. But it’s not entirely a “comidas” market. (i.e.; This market doesn’t exclusively deal in prepared foods like the city’s Lunch Markets. Those at San Camilito, Huipulco, and Fuentes Brotantes come to mind.)
As many international visitors, especially those with “foody” inclinations, get sent to the Merced, this building is a good place to start sampling. There are dozens of kitchens preparing rare, exquisite, unique, and even experimental foods. The section is easy to find, it’s a fun place to eat, and a fun place to visit. It’s also affordable. Frankly, it’s even jaw-dropping at times.
If you want tips on eating at fondas, comida corridas, and prepared food that’s not from a restaurant, see our crash course here.