This past summer, I took a trip with my best friend to live with her grandma in Guadalajara, Mexico for a month. I had never been outside of the country before so I had no idea what to expect; I was just excited to see all there was and try all the authentic food I could find. Guadalajara is a big city so here are a couple things you should spend time finding.
Okay, you guys are probably about to leave this article thinking, “Did she really just start off with bread? She doesn't know what she's talking about.” But before you leave, just let me explain my case—this isn’t just some prepackaged bread you find in a grocery store and stick in your freezer.
These amazing rolls were baked and delivered every morning, filling corner markets all over the neighborhoods. Crunchy on the outside and airy on the inside, these are the breads of our dreams. *Cue the Ratatouille scene when Collete presses the baguette and everyone leans in to hear the crunch.*
#SpoonTip: Toast these in the morning and top with refried beans, crema and chile for a fulfilling, traditional breakfast.
2. Outdoor Markets
Everyone always raves about farmers markets, but these outdoor markets would put LA hipsters to shame. Rows and rows of vendors selling fresh produce, varying from fresh chickens and handmade tortillas, to smaller treats such as chile-coated nuts and tamarindo candy.
You can also join the families gathered around scattered tables eating homemade pozole and tacos. Besides just food, the markets offer clothing, toys and souvenirs.
3. Fresh Fruit
Let's just take a moment. Is this not the prettiest mango you've ever seen? If there was one thing that was way more abundant in Mexico, it was all of the fruit being sold (really cheap) everywhere.
Watermelon, jicama, pineapple, mango, papaya, cucumber, coconut, you name it. Literally every time we went out, either my friend or I bought the cut up fruit swimming in lime juice and chile. I think it's safe to say I died and went to fruit heaven, and this mango flower was there to greet me at the welcome gates.
4. The Pan Truck
It doesn't get much better than this—a truck that drives down through the neighborhood with freshly baked desserts and sweet breads. Loaded up with selections of pan dulce, cookies and custard filled goods, the truck's jingle playing through its speakers immediately brought everyone out of their homes and into the street.
Fresh pastries you can get without even having to put shoes on? I'll take two of everything, thanks.
A classic treat to cool down with in the middle of summer: various sliced fruits including apples, cantaloupes, strawberries and bananas, topped with yogurt. Then pile on the toppings like granola, raisins, coconut, sprinkles or cherries.
It's like a parfait's foreign exchange cousin, refreshingly sweet and satisfying, that everyone wants a spoonful of.
6. La Barranca de Huentitán
The only reason this isn't #1 is because it isn't food, but seriously, this is definitely THE top thing to experience in Guadalajara. "La Barranca" is a 4-mile hike that leads down to a picturesque river.
Be warned though, the hike back up the cobblestone pathway is intense—you'll definitely feel it in your legs and glutes the next day. The short breath is worth it to see all the gorgeous views such as this one at the abandoned train tracks. The scenery is something you just don't see in America and deserves to be appreciated.
#SpoonTip: Plan to spend at least three hours on the hike, depending on whether you run it like some locals or walk it and take pictures of the nature and insects (guilty).
So whether you've travelled to Guadalajara before or are a classic tourist like I was, hopefully this makes your trip easier. Maybe it might even make you book a flight?