You're unlikely to spot the simply named Mexican Supermarket while speeding down Atlantic Boulevard. It's on the backside of yet another Broward County strip mall, requiring you to turn your head at least 90 degrees to catch a glimpse.
If you do see it you'll know where to go next time you need dried ancho chilies or uncured pork belly, however you'll find much more than that.
Inside the fluorescent-lit market sits a small counter offering a huge variety of authentic Mexican fare at low prices. There are nearly a dozen varieties of made-to-order of tacos, served traditionally with chopped onion, cilantro and a lime wedge. There's Costilla de Res, thin-sliced short ribs marinated in chilies before a quick char on the grill, and whole fried fish served with rice and refried kidney beans for $9.99. Ten bucks gets you ten fried oysters and another ten gets you a quartet of tostadas topped with juicy carnitas, grilled chicken and even tongue or tripe.
The Mexican Supermarket didn't begin with the restaurant says Henry Fantibanez. His mother, Marina, opened it 1999.
"It started with the grocery store, then meat market and then the restaurant," he says. "Now we're making our own tortillas."
The family is from Guerrero, the state in southwest Mexico where Acapulco is located. The region's cuisine is still closely linked to that of the indigenous tribes who lived there for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. Corn plays a huge role in the region's cuisine and at Mexican Supermarket.
"Esquites is very popular," Fantibanez says. "It's corn in a cup with mayo, lemon, cheese and chili powder."
The meat counter offers everything from house made chorizo wound up in thick coils, to pork and beef tripe, to a wide variety of marinated meats ready for you to take home and grill.
Yet the best part of Mexican Supermarket, for a gringo at least, is just wandering around and exploring the place. There are dozens of chilies along with big bags of fragrant Mexican oregano.
In the back of the market are at least a half dozen tortilla presses in case you've ever wanted to try to make them yourself. You'll need masa -- ground corn flour -- to make them and they've got plenty on hand.
If you're not that adventurous, just pop in for some carne asada, a dozen tortillas and tell your friends you didn't answer their phone calls for the past six months because you were in Mexico learning to cook.
For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.
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