[places] Mercado de Abastos in Santiago

I’ve been thinking the past few hours which should be the object of my first post – but deep inside I knew it would be this.

Octopus sellers at the market

The Abastos Market in Santiago is one of my favourite spots in the city, and apparently I’m not the only one to think so. It is the second most seen monument, after the Cathedral, according to the local Tourist Office. I’m not sure where they get their numbers, since there’s no entry ticket, still it sounds good. Also, there aren’t many typical foreign tourists in site, so your experience can be pretty much authentic.

Salt cod seller

If you travel with your stomach, as I do, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it – even though you’re not in a self-catering accomodation (what a shame!) you’ll find something yummy to pick up: some fruit, some cheese, or maybe some corn bread. And let’s not forget the tapas bar nearby!

What to look for?

Check out the ladies outside of the market, on the side of St. Augustin Church and on the opposite side of the market: they’re selling vegetables, cheese and liquors from their farms. I’m not sure whether they are semi legal or they’re actually paying a fee or what, but they’re fascinating anyways.

Corn bread

Get some bread. Galician bread is famous in all of Spain; the local breads are large loaves with a typical horn on top, they’re called Mollete de Santiago. Another local and different bread is Broa, or Pan de Millo: it’s made of corn and rye flour in huge wheel-like shapes. Its taste is deep and sour, it goes perfectly well with some (Galician) honey or cheese.

Pork of any sort at the butcher's
Pork of any sort at the butcher’s

Take some pork with you: smoked chorizos, pork suet (unto), salted ribs or cured heads. If the pig has it, they’ll eat it.

If pork is not your thing, get some salt cod, you’ll find all sort of cuts and all sort of prices.

When is it open?

Monday to Saturday, 7 AM to 2 PM. Tuesdays and Thursdays are traditionally big market days, although Saturday is also a very good one.

Anything else?

Of course you can have a glass of wine and a tapa at Abastos 2.0 or at Pazo de Altamira – I’ll write more in detail about these two restaurants. For some local excellent fish preserves check out La Catrineta, South-West of the market.

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