The video inspired me to eat more fresh whole foods. It also inspired me to write this post on where to get whole foods in Uruguay.
|Neighborhood produce market in Uruguay|
Most communities in Uruguay have neighborhood produce markets with a broad variety of vegetables and fruit available that usually include:
|Green oak lettuce / zapatillas|
Squash: butternut squash, acorn squash, zucchini, and a round bulk zucchini called zapatillas.
Root vegetables: carrots, red and white potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams, onions (yellow, white, and purple), turnips, beets, radishes, and leeks.
Fruits: plums, red and green grapes, peaches, several varieties of apples; and a full range of citrus. They will also have kiwi fruit, strawberries, watermelon, and other melons when they are in season.
Tropical fruits from neighboring countries: bananas, pineapples, and mangoes.
Neighborhood butcher shops
In addition to produce markets, most neighborhoods in Uruguay have butcher shops called carnicerias. Like the produce markets, most are individually owned and operated. One of the great things about living in Uruguay is that the beef is grass-fed with no hormones or antibiotics.
Meat is cut a little differently in Uruguay than in the U.S., but these are some popular cuts and their correlations: The most popular cut in Uruguay is asado (short ribs). Other cuts are picanhia (rump roast), caudril (top sirloin), bife angosto (strip loin), lomo (tenderloin), vacio (flank steak), entrania (skirt steak), and entrecote (New York steak). Ground sirloin is available with different amounts of fat. Lean ground sirloin has less than 5% fat, and some places will make it even leaner.
In addition to beef, butcher shops also sell lamb, pork, and sausages. Sausages include chorizo, and morcilla (blood sausage that can be either sweet or savory). Various types of organ meat are also available.
Most neighborhood butcher shops also sell chickens and eggs. However, in Montevideo there are shops that just sell chickens and eggs.
|Fishermen selling their catch at the dock in Uruguay|
Fish directly from the fishing boats
In addition to large commercial fishing fleets, Uruguay has artisan fishing fleets made up of small boats that catch fish using hand operated gear. They fish year-round and sell their catch directly to the public.
The marina in Punta del Este and in Piriapolis are the places I have personally bought fish directly from fishermen. The most common type of fish is brotola, a light white-meat fish. There are also other types of fish including corvina and sole, as well as mussels, shrimp, octopus, and squid. They will clean the fish for you and charge you just for the fillets.
Fish sold by artisan fishermen in Montevideo, which is further west on the Rio de la Plat (River of Silver) and further from the Atlantic Ocean, will be freshwater fish.
|Selling produce at a Uruguay feria|
Ferias are markets that set up one or two days a week in a park or on a street. Some just sell whole food like a farmer’s market, others just sell crafts, and some sell food, crafts, and a variety of new and used goods.
Ferias that sell food are a good place to buy produce. There may be six to ten venders selling fruits and vegetables in one feria. The side-by-side competition helps provide the customer with the best quality and price.
In addition to produce, the farmer’s market ferias also have trailers set up selling freshly caught fish, fresh chicken and eggs, and cheeses.
Uruguay also has supermarkets with everything under one roof. The supermarket that has the freshest meat, freshest fish, and freshest produce on the most consistent basis compared with other supermarkets is Tienda Inglesia. There is a Tienda Inglesa in the Montevideo shopping mall, in Atlantida, and in Punta del Este.
If you are from out of the area and don’t know which neighborhood places to get your fresh whole foods, then Tienda Inglesa is probably your best one-stop place to get quality whole foods.