Central de Abasto (CEDA) has been on my must visit list since I was a kid, dreaming about future travel. The last time I was in Mexico City I ran out of time and couldn’t make it as it’s fairly out of the way.
CEDA is simple the most, the biggest, the craziest. It’s the largest market of any kind anywhere in the world, it’s estimated between 1/3rd and half of all food items consumed anywhere in Mexico pass through CEDA at some point.
Size – the market is over 2kms by 2kms long.
Trucks – about 50,000 trucks are present at any given time.
Hours – the market functions 22 hours a day, it closes for cleaning from 8pm to 10pm nightly.
Employees – about 70,000.
Customers – about 300,000 attend the market per day.
The market basically supplies every single food item in Mexico City, from supermarkets to the taco lady on the corner.
This next video is quite boring. To emphasize the magnitude of CEDA I recorded myself walking from just the start of the banana area to the end of the banana area. Each major item has a similar space.
I spent half a day just wandering the market, trying not to get in the way, I walked from the south end all the way to the north but probably saw maybe 5% of the market after walking 10+kms of it.
I shot the following video after two different people told me this was quiet time for the market, it was about 2pm.
The hand trucks are called “diablos”, the guys pushing them are “diableros”.
One of the very best reasons to travel, for me, is to see things and experience things that reset what you thought the limits of things were, to give yourself new frames of reference for things you’ve always known. I was laughed at by market workers more than once for the look of wonder and my mouth hanging open (could have been the hat tho, now that I think of it, it’s not great).
There are taco stands every 50 metres or so in all areas of the market, I picked one in the basement of the beef processing area at random, was the best tacos so far this trip.
I could honestly write pages about the market, it was mind-blowing, they have their own bank, their own police, their own jail, their own mayor, doctors, clinic, dentists. They also have extremely dark, serious issues that I am not the person to expound on.