Plaza de Mercado Paloquemao, Paloquemao

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BOGOTA | Plaza de Mercado Paloquemao has been in operation since 1972, and is one of the largest fresh produce markets in Colombia. Named after the neighbourhood in which it resides, the market is frequented by local chefs, home cooks, and visitors looking for the freshest and best local produce. A sign at one of the entrances boasts that the market contains “all of Colombia in one single place”, and its hard to disagree when you’re faced with hundreds of vendors selling fresh produce, cookware, cooked meals and more. You’ll have to excuse the lack of photos of the market itself – my memory card became corrupted and I unfortunately lost most of the morning’s photos.

If you want an introduction to the diverse fruits and vegetables available in Colombia, Mercado Paloquemao is the place to visit. There are things here that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, and some exotic fruits that you won’t even find elsewhere in the country. We learned that some of the produce in Colombia is so distinct to particular regions, and so fragile, that transporting it is not an option – it has to be eaten close the the source on the day that it’s picked.

You’ll find avocados the size of footballs, over 40 different types of potatoes, and fruits might not have heard of like lulo, guanabana, tomate de arbol, granadilla, pitahaya, and yerba buena. Our advice is to just grab one of everything you haven’t seen before and try it. Take a photo and find out what’s it’s called after, or ask a vendor to help you out. The market vendors are happy to chat to customers as best they can with the language barrier (assuming you don’t speak Spanish) and if you’re purchasing something they’re more than happy to let you try a few things before you buy.

As well as the fresh produce and meat, there are also several stalls selling rustic, home-cooked food both inside and outside the market. We tried some amazing tamales as well as a few other dishes we hadn’t tried before. Our advice is to grab a seat and take a look at what the locals are eating. Whatever looks to be most popular is what you should order – you can be sure it’s good if all the locals are ordering it.

The market also sells a lot of cookware and other bits and pieces. We scored some great BBQ charcoal boxes and utensils for a fraction of the price we’d pay back home. You can haggle, but prices are so cheap and targeted at locals that you don’t really need to.

Do be aware that despite being close to many of the tourist sights downtown the area between the market and the cultural district can get a bit sketchy – order a taxi or grab an Uber rather than walk to get to and from the market.

Plaza de Mercado Paloquemao

Calle 24 #6-00
Bogotá
Colombia

Telephone: +57 311 5980989
E-mail: n/a
Website: n/a

Open
Mon – Wed: 7:00am to 4:30pm
Thu – Fri: 4:30am to 4:30pm
Sat: 7:00am to 4:30pm
Sun: 7:00am to 2:30pm

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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