The Tianguis de San Bartolomé Xicomulco meets outside the market building. It’s composed of vendors who would normally have inside fixed locations. The 2020 pandemic shut the building and it’s unclear, even to local merchants, when it will reopen.
No matter, though. Merchants in San Bartolomé Xicomulco have staked out positions outside the building as they’d done for generations. They’ve been joined by local artisan groups, independent smaller farmers, and families whose livelihoods have long depended on direct contact with customers. The photo above shows part of the Tianguis, extending on to Avenida 5 de mayo.
A 2017 UAM study had counted some 60 merchants in the old building. That number has swelled and receded but it’s a fairly accurate indicator of a mid-sized market. Outdoors in the tianguis, there are sometimes many more vendors. But among all of them, a few are still selling prepared meals and lunches. These are some of the most reliable places in the area for fresh and homecooked meals.
The Tianguis de San Bartolomé Xicomulco has probably saved the town market. Generally fair weather has meant that even during the worst of the 2020-2021 pandemic, things were available outside. They’re still there. Along with the best food and plenty to look at and enjoy, it’s a market with or without its building.
The Tianguis shares its outdoor space with parking for the Casa de Cultura Tepecuitlapa. It’s the most important cultural venue in the Xicomulco. And that means, events in the Casa will often take place out front, or even in coordination with the Tianguis. It’s another terrific thing about Milpa Alta.