A Guide to Mexican Grocery Stores in the United States
By Sarah Lawson, Sanaë Lemoine, and Eesha Sardesai
There aren't many Mexican grocery stores in Alabama, so it's a good thing this Birmingham storefront has it all: produce such as tomatillos, nopales, and calabacitasquash; meats in various cuts; fresh bread from thepanedería (including traditional pastries such as yeast-dough roscas de reyes, made during Epiphany); and an assortment of imported drinks and candies. The taquería inside serves fried pork carnitas daily and tamales on the weekends.
2085 Colonial Drive
Authentic everyday foods, such as fresh-pressed tortillas and inexpensive produce including jicama, mangos, key limes, and pre-cleaned nopales, are an attractive draw at this Arizona Mexican-American chain. Some locations offer prepared foods, such as hatch chiles grilled right before your eyes.
2950 S. 6th Avenue
Mi Pueblo Food Center
There are upwards of twenty Mi Pueblo supermarkets dotting Northern California, each one featuring bright interiors and massive inventories of Mexican food. Try the cremería for fresh cotija, Oaxaca and Mennonites cheeses, or the carnicería for chorizo, flank steak and spit-grilled al pastor pork. There's also a heaving produce section, a bakery and a seafood counter.
Mi Pueblo Food Center
1745 Story Road
San Jose, CA
Locals flock to San Francisco's Mission neighborhood to La Palma for more than just groceries. An in-storetaquería has gained a cult following for its hot tortillas stuffed with anything from tongue or birria (goat stew), its masa-based huaraches and sopes, chiles rellenos, and overstuffed tortas (sandwiches). The store itself is a comprehensive source for spices, meats, loose dried chiles, prepared molés, and Mexican sodas and snacks.
2884 24th Street
San Francisco, CA
La Pradera Meat Market
"Todo es puro mexicano"—everything is pure Mexican at this Denver grocery, as one worker proudly told us. Piñatas with bright streamers hang from the ceiling over rows of packaged tortillas, spice blends, bottled salsas, fruit juices, and a meat case brimming with cuts of beef and pork, whole chickens, and links of chorizo. La Pradera's produce section is also notably good, with ultra-fresh nopales, cilantro, tomatillos, papayas, habanero peppers, and more.