Shop & Cook: Portales Market Tour and Cooking Class
Traditional Mexican Market
Vibrant 1950’s-era Neighborhood
Hands-on “Only in Mexico” cooking experience
NEW!!! Mexico has one of the richest, most diverse gastronomies in the world. Having been declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2007, the country now receives its well-deserved recognition from the rest of the world. Each year, more and more people travel to Mexico specifically for its lively food scene. At Eat Mexico, our mission has always been to celebrate Mexico’s food culture and what better way to do so than through learning by doing. In this uniquely tailored Mexico City market tour and hands-on cooking class, you’ll learn the basics of how to shop for local, fresh ingredients while further diving into this fascinating world of long-honored culinary traditions.
Visit a 1950’s bakery that specializes in producing traditional pan dulce using the same artisanal methods for over four generations
Discover the inside mechanics of a local market including how to shop for the best produce/ingredients
Learn how to make a traditional Mexican meal from start to finish
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Adults $89.99, children (ages 14 to 17) $69.99.
Looking to go private? Private tour option $39.99 per person.
Availability & departure time
Monday, Friday through Sunday at 10:00am
Madera de Café on Libertad 37, San Simón, Benito Juárez, 03660 Benito Juárez, CDMX.
Monday, Friday through Sunday, year round.
Minimum 2 people, maximum 8 people
Traveling with a group larger than 8? We’ve got you covered! Book a private tour by emailing us at email@example.com.
- All the food you can eat (enough for a light breakfast and a full lunch)
- One juice during the market tour, one welcome mezcal upon arrival to the kitchen, unlimited agua fresca during the cooking class and one national beer during lunch
- All the ingredients for the cooking class
- Generous tips for vendors
- Transport from the market to the cooking class
- Transport to/from the meeting and end points of the tour
- Tip for your guide
- Additional personal beverages, outside what’s included on the tour itinerary
What to bring
- Comfortable walking shoes
- An appetite
- Water to stay hydrated
- Tip for your guide if desired
- An umbrella during the rainy season months of June through October.
- Tote bag for purchases, if desired
Participants should be able to walk/stand for three hours, with some stops to rest. This experience is open to children 14 years and older.
Staff on tour
You’ll be accompanied by one of our local, bilingual culinary guides. Each has a degree in gastronomy and/or has worked in local kitchens. They’ll enrich your experience by sharing their knowledge of Mexico City’s food scene, their own personal traditions, and the vendors’ stories. Read more about our guides here.
This tour also includes a kitchen assistant during the cooking class.
Mexico City Cooking Class: Portales Market Tour & Cooking Class
Portales is a traditional, 1950’s working class neighborhood, nestled in the center of the city, tucked away from the more tourist-frequented areas. During this experience, designed by our expert culinary guides Ariane Ruiz and Yimnah Rosas, we’ll stroll through this lively neighbourhood surrounded by mom-and-pop eateries, bakeries, and piñata shops, and (of course!) great homestyle Mexican food. We’ll visit a local bakery and tortillería as well as spend some time exploring the neighborhood’s bustling market where you’ll learn how to identify and purchase the freshest ingredients. After a short ride to our kitchen studio, we’ll show you how to make a tasty three-course Mexican meal that you can easily replicate in your own home. Listen to soft latin tunes, sip on a mezcal and enjoy the company of new friends while preparing some incredible food.
In the Portales market you will:
- Learn to shop for local ingredients including Mexican dried chiles.
- Try a famous taco de barbacoa, made with succulent lamb that has been cooked in an underground oven for over 8 hours.
- Sip on a freshly squeezed juice made from local, seasonal fruits
Meanwhile, in the neighborhood, you’ll try:
Traditional Pan Dulce
Choose from a wide variety of sweet breads that have been made using the same artisanal processes for generations. Discover why pan dulce is so popular among Mexicans and can be eaten at any time of the day.
Freshly made “off-the-machine” corn tortillas
Walk inside a working tortillería to learn how tortillas are made and why these are such an important part of Mexican culture. Try one fresh off the machine like locals do, with some salt and salsa.
During the cooking class, you will:
Learn to cook three traditional Mexican dishes in addition to a refreshing salsa made from scratch. The menu has been carefully curated to combine a variety of local Mexican ingredients and pre-hispanic cooking techniques. To participate, you don’t need to have a culinary background as you will be assisted step by step by our expert team but if you are a more advanced home cook, this experience is also ideal for you!
- As precautionary safety measures for the cooking class, we recommend wearing long pants and closed-toe shoes. Please avoid shorts, skirts and sandals. If you have long hair, please bring something to tie your hair back. An apron will be provided for each participant to use during the class.
- There will be a short, 10 minute ride from the market area to the kitchen where the cooking class is held and where the tour ends.
- The tour is conducted rain or shine.
- We like to blend in with the locals. Dress in comfortable clothing, and leave any flashy or expensive clothes and jewelry at home. Note: Mexico City can be chilly in the mornings and warmer in the afternoon, so it’s best to dress in layers.
- This experience includes a lot of food. We recommend arriving hungry and not eating breakfast beforehand.
- Vegetarians can be accommodated on this experience, but meat and vegetables may be cooked on the same surface.
- Feel free to bring your own water bottle. We’ll stop to refill it with purified water.
- Mexico City sits at nearly 7,300 feet high. This means you’ll feel more tired than normal if you’re not used to the altitude. Don’t do this tour if you haven’t gotten any sleep the night before, or if you’re arriving to the airport on the same morning.
- If you’d like to make any purchases (see our FAQ on souvenirs), bring cash and a small tote bag (you can also purchase one ahead of time at checkout). Credit cards are not accepted here.
How long is the tour?
Does the experience end where it starts?
No. The tour meets outside a coffee shop called Madera de Café on Libertad 37, San Simón, Benito Juárez. It will end at Ermita Iztapalapa 204, Justo Sierra which is about a 10 minute drive from the initial meeting point. If you need help getting back to your hotel at the end of the experience, your guide can help you find the nearest subway station, which is a 15 minute walk away from the kitchen or help you get an Uber.
Will I eat a lot of food?
Yes! You can eat as much as you want at each of the stops and during the cooking class. Our guide will let you know how many stops there are so you can pace yourself. No one knows your appetite better than you!
Do I need to take cash with me?
If you plan to tip your guide, you should bring enough cash to cover that—about 10 to 15 percent is standard. (We also offer the option of paying your guide’s tip ahead of time at checkout.) You may also choose to bring a bit extra for any market goods. All the food you can eat, plus at least three drinks and purified water, are covered by us.
Is there an ATM on the route?
No, please bring cash if you plan on buying anything outside of what’s included on the tour.
Is this market good for souvenir shopping?
Not really. It is a good place to buy food or Mexican ingredients. There are a couple of stands that sell traditional kitchen utensils and crafts, but this market does not specialize in art and craft goods.
Will my guide speak English?
Of course! Our guides are culinary experts and speak perfect English. Our kitchen assistant only speaks Spanish, but our Eat Mexico guide translates.
Can I do the tour if I am traveling alone?
We usually require a two-person minimum on our tours. If you’re a solo traveler, you’re welcome to book the date of your choosing—if it has other guests, you’re good to go. If three days prior to the tour date, the tour does not have any other guests, we will reach out to you about choosing a different date or refund your ticket.
What other activities can I do after this experience?
Portales is very centrally located and well communicated with the rest of the city. From this neighborhood, you can easily make your way to the Historic Centre to visit the Zócalo (Mexico City’s main historic square) or the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Palace). Not far from Portales going South is the colonial neighbourhood of Coyoacán where you can visit the Frida Kahlo museum and spend the rest of the afternoon strolling through the beautiful tree-lined, cobble-stoned streets.
Is the neighborhood safe?
Generally, this neighborhood is considered safe and commonly visited by families because of its heavy commercial activity. That said, Mexico City is an enormous place and pickpocketing can happen. We highly recommend trying to blend in with the locals as much as possible—that means wearing pants and comfortable shoes, and leaving any expensive jewelry at home. Wallets and cell phones should be carried in zippered bags or purses. Cell phones should be tucked away when not in use for taking pictures. We suggest avoiding the area at night due to the lack of proper street lighting and less movement of pedestrians.