We got up bright and early on Saturday to go with Alex to the Capitol market. There are lots of markets in San Jose, but this is apparently one of the larger ones. They had the customary fruits and fewer veges, and what looked like the entire contents of garage sales and pharmacies. Sunglasses and hoodies for sale abounded.
You have to pay $1.25 to get in on a Saturday, but it's cheaper on Thursday and Friday. The vendors were predominantly Spanish so our fledgling Spanish was kinda helpful, but I really wish we were far better! (At least) one vendor tried to rip us off because we weren't local but we didn't buy anything from him.
The site was on a big open-air drive-through cinema. I never realised that the cars all sit on little tiers on the concrete, so the ground zig-zags upwards as you go towards the back of the markets.
Many would offer taste tests of some of their fruits and veges, so naturally we sampled. Quite a few things unexpectedly had chili powder and salt and lemon on them, which we all found a bit spicy! We bought lots of yummy fruit including Ataulfo mangoes, which are smaller and bright yellow all over. Yummy! They're much less juicy but taste similar, so you don't end up as sticky.
The markets also sold papaya, which I hadn't had fresh. I really liked it but Brendan didn't. It has an odd smell - kinda like the tiniest whiff of vomit. Eww. But it doesn't taste like that! They're pretty big - the one we bought was almost 4 pounds (about 1.5 kg I think?).
We also bought a Mexican fruit we had never seen before - a jicama. (Said "hee-carma".) It looks a bit like a turnip, and you cut it open and eat it raw with salt, chili and lemon juice. It's a bit like eating an unripe pear, or a sweeter raw potato. I think we'll skip the condiments for ours.
A Mexican girl also told me how to make a nopalitas cactus salad - they sold big flat cactus leaves. I got spikes in my fingers! Apparently you cut it up and boil it and then serve with tomato, onions and lettuce.
For all the old SNES etc game lovers - old games!!! There were so many - Melanie Swalwell would have loved this (one of my old lecturers at Victoria University doing media research on video games). (Note the adult DVDs tent in the background. Seriously, people sold almost everything.)
Apparently there's a meat market as well, but we drove around for a while and couldn't find that.