Where's the Gringo?

A Gringo at the Market in Atizapán de Zaragoza – Spanish Practice Video

I’m always looking to practice my Spanish as I travel, and one of my favorite things to do is to go to the local market.

Markets in Latin America are so vibrant & colorful, and are at the very center of life in many communities.  There are always so many people milling around, wheeling supplies in to stock up, shouting & hustling to sell out, and doing whatever can be done to meet in the middle.  There is no better place to be thrown into the Spanish-speaking mix!  

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I enjoy going to the market not just for the experience of immersing myself in the bustling madness, but also to brush up on my vocabulary.  Walking through the market is a great way to familiarize yourself with the names of vegetables, fruits, meats, and bread, so I decided to make a quick, improvised video to bring the market experience to you in your home.

The first half of the video is all about the vegetables and fruits, which were the reason we came to the market in the first place.  After making all of our purchases, we wandered back into the meat market to capture a more all-inclusive experience. Apologies in advance to vegetarians and animal activists, but in most places in Latin America, and especially Mexico, meat is a huge part of the local diet.  Consider turning the video off about the 8:55 mark.

My favorite part of this video in particular was capturing the process of making chicharrón.  Not only is the process of making chicharrón fascinating to me, but the guy making it was hilarious!

Notice how he is so excited to show me his trade, and we even go back and forth making fun of each other’s Spanish & English, all in good fun!  He imitates things I say in English that he doesn’t understand, trying to formulate the words according to the sounds he hears.

Even though he was joking, he actually illustrates the best way to start learning a language – through imitation of the sounds that he hears, without any embarrassment at all. This is how babies learn to speak so quickly.  They listen and speak, without fear of “sounding dumb” or making errors.  That’s how you & I should learn to speak Spanish too!

After watching the video, make sure and check out the comprehensive list of Spanish vocabulary words and various phrases below from my day at the market.  Feel free to study them to practice your Spanish, and let me know if you have any questions!

Spanish Vocabulary List

abastos – supplies

hacer las compras – do the shopping

la locura – the madness

verduras – vegetables

frutas – fruit

guayaba – guava

fresa – strawberry

plátano macho – big banana (plantain)

plátano dominico – small, dominican bananas

sandía – watermelon

plátano – banana

mandarina – mandarin

manzana – apple

tejocote – tejocote

ponche – punch

cacahuate – peanut

calabaza – squash

cebolla – onion

papa cambray – cambray potatoes (small)

papa normal – normal potatoes

jitomate – red tomato

tomate – green tomato

zanahoria – carrot

chicharro – pea

aguacate – avocado

limón – lime

ejote – gren bean

ajo – garlic

seta – seta mushroom

flor de calabaza – zucchini flower

cilantro – cilantro

nopal – nopal cactus

morro – bell pepper

lechuga – lettuce

lechuga romana – romaine lettuce

espinaca – spinach

broccoli – broccoli

champiñones – mushrooms

nada – nothing

melon – cantaloupe

apio – celery

ciruela – plum

piña – pineapples

chayote – chayote

lima – lemon

mil, cuatrocientos y diez – 1,410

mil – thousand

cuatro – 4

cien – hundred

diez – 10

pepino – cucumber

caja – box

güey – dude (Mexican)

comida – food

las vacaciones – the holidays

caña de azúcar – sugar cane

jalapeño – jalapeño

chile serrano – serrano chile pepper

chile de árbol – chile de árbol pepper

picoso – spicy

chile poblano – poblano chile pepper

chiles secos – dry chile peppers

chicharrón – chicharrón (similar to pork rinds but not the same)

cuero – hide

piel – skin

pelos – hairs

quemados – burned

aceite – oil

¡Checale! – Check it out!

sabroso – tasty

grasa – fat

listo – ready, smart

Estoy listo – I’m ready

Soy listo – I’m smart

probar – to try

Pancho Villa – Mexican Revolution hero

pollería – poulty shop

pollo – chicken

moronga – blood sausage

cortes distintas de res – different cuts of beef

puerco – pork, pig

bistec picado – chopped up beef

bistec fresco – fresh beef

chorizo – sausage

chuleta ahumada – smoked pork chop

manitas – little hands (in this case pig feed)

chuleta fresca – fresh pork chop

cabez de cerdo – pig head

¡pobrecito! – poor little thing

costilla americana – american-style ribs

sanitario – bathroom, toilet

elote – corn on the cob

maíz – corn

escoger – to choose

piñata – piñata

caber – to fit

apenas – barely

un día exitoso – a successful day

hasta la próxima – until next time


Was this video good Spanish practice for you?  Doesn’t the Mexican market experience look like fun?  If you have any questions about any of the Spanish vocabulary words or phrases learned in today’s video, please let me know in the comments below!





3 thoughts on “A Gringo at the Market in Atizapán de Zaragoza – Spanish Practice Video

  1. Cynthia

    Greetings from two old fart Canucks who are hanging out in Malaque. We ❤️ loved going to the market with you. I look forward to delving into your website over the next few days. Thanks for demystekying the red versus green tomato quandary. My husband is a big man if chicharron (yuck!) but I do enipjoy how watching how much he – and you – enjoy it. Must be a guy thing. Anyway, awesome video, made us smile! Cheers! cynthia & randy

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