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A Seaworthy Stop in Ensenada

by planetnomad on March 25, 2011

All the men wear yellow waders. The aisles are narrow, damp & dark, and stacked solid of sea creatures. The yells are loud and frequent… ‘Orale, orale, que va llevar?’  The smell is either inviting or offensive.

Welcome to the famed Fish Market or, “Mercado de Mariscos” in Ensenada.

I am enjoying a fish taco at one of the numerous seafood shacks adjacent to the Mercado as I hear the fish mongers approach customers in their measured and well-delivered cadence. From my vantage point, I see bands of white, dark purple and red; each color coinciding with the mounds of jumbo shrimp, baby octopus and red snapper, respectively. I also spot multicolored splashes of “mixto”, or simply  “mixture”, a prepared medley of raw seafood and vegetables to be used in ceviche.

A local and outsider draw since the 1950’s, this place, also going by the name “Mercado Negro”, supplies some of the freshest seafood in this part of Baja. You can see the daily catch coming off the nearby boats and workers quickly icing it down for the various vendors here. And though this bare bones, open-air market is not huge, the variety sold here is extensive and quite sought after from area restaurateurs, to the home cook or the passing tourist. You can choose from the scored cabrilla fish, shark steaks or pack home a nice chunk of smoked marlin. The selection is quite diverse.

An added element to this whole market, is the fact that you can make a purchase here and quickly scoot on over to any of the surrounding seafood shacks and your selection will be prepared to your liking. Whether you want something fried, grilled or prepared “a la Veracruzana”, it’s up to you.

For me, just sitting here enjoying one of the best fish tacos ever, straight off the menu, and paying witness to the surrounding activity doesn’t get any better. Sure, there are some who may feel squeamish and apprehensive about literally “seeing” their meal carted from market, to kitchen, to table, but really, can it get any fresher?


La Bufadora
Avenida López Mateos


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

LeslieTravel March 27, 2011 at 5:39 am

That’s cool you can buy a fish and immediately have it prepared at a stall. Talk about fresh fish!

planetnomad March 28, 2011 at 8:00 am

Thanks for your visit Leslie! Yeah, I have to say that Ensenada probably has the best fish tacos imo…definitely worth a visit when your out in that part of Mexico.

AllAboutCara March 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I’m dying to visit Ensenada (I have a whole Mexico bucket list hahaha). This looks like something to explore when I get there (hopefully soon!).


Ashley March 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Yum! I love markets – they’re always where the best food is 🙂 I’m still thinking about the sandwich I had at the central market in Merida last summer…haha…it was sooo good!

planetnomad March 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Thanks for your visit Cara! You should definitely visit Ensenada, especially if you are in Tijuana anytime since it’s an easy day trip from there. Oh, and I totally hear you about having a Mexico bucket list…mine continues to grow with every trip…haha! Safe travels to you!

planetnomad March 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Ashley I agree with you about finding the best food at the markets! AND, it’s usually the least expensive too…what’s not to like, huh? Nice seeing you here again!

David Krug April 2, 2011 at 12:06 am

Oh how I miss Baja California. I’ve never been to the fish market but … now I have an inspiring reason to go. Along with 100 other reasons….

planetnomad April 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Thanks for visiting and sharing your comments David! I recommend the market, especially if you’re into the whole sea vibe thing as I am, plus you can’t go wrong with all the great food you’ll find in the adjacent eateries. Safe travels! 🙂

Sandy April 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Oh YUM, I am so hungry for fresh seafood. It is so difficult living in a landlocked state. Thanks for the wonderful photos.

planetnomad April 27, 2011 at 7:47 am

Thanks for your visit and reply Sandy! Yep, I imagine it’s not easy living some distance from the ocean and craving some good seafood. Hang in there and keep us posted on your next visit to some sandy, warm and sea-creature infested place…ha ha! Safe travels to you.

EddieMex May 2, 2011 at 11:38 am

Thank you for sharing. Great read & loved the pictures. Shrimp Shrimp Shrimp! In honor of this post I’m having a nice Coctel de Camaron for lunch. Thanks.

planetnomad May 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm

No, thank YOU Eddie for visiting the site and leaving your comments. I’m glad you’re honoring this post by having a coctel de camaron… buen provecho my friend!

joanna green June 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Brings back lots of memories. Love Ensenada! Whale watching, local wine, tacos de pescado, beautiful coastline.

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