Lost In The Supermarket: Fiesta Mart

Adina explores Fiesta Mart in Austin, Texas!

Released on 4/5/2017

Transcript

00:00
This is incredible.
00:04
It's a bucket of lard for whenever you need it.
00:08
Yes, Fiesta Mart,
00:10
a chain of Mexican and Hispanic supermarkets
00:13
across the Southwest, stocks lard in tubs
00:15
large enough for any taqueria or survivalist's bunker.
00:19
But that's just one of the shamelessly tasty,
00:21
occasionally dangerous items they sell in absurd quantities.
00:25
Walk through any of their stores
00:26
and you might hear a mariachi band,
00:28
pick out a pinata, eat a whole fried fish
00:31
that was alive just minutes before,
00:33
or get pricked by a spiky desert vegetable.
00:36
The only predictable thing?
00:37
It's gonna be delicious.
00:39
It's time to get lost in the supermarket.
00:41
So right when you come into Fiesta Mart,
00:44
you're confronted with something that can hurt you,
00:46
these cactus paddles or nopales,
00:48
which are delicious in tacos.
00:50
And with this helpful set of tongs here,
00:54
with which to pick them up.
00:56
But if you just walk over this way,
00:59
she's shaved with this knife,
01:01
all of the spikes off of the cactus.
01:04
Her technique is remarkable.
01:06
Do you ever end up with a spike?
01:08
Not so much?
01:09
See, she's a professional.
01:11
This is an amazing assortment of guavas.
01:16
Hmm I don't know if it's guava season quite yet,
01:19
but the guavas are still good.
01:21
This is your self-serve dried chili station.
01:24
When you lift this lid,
01:27
like amazing, dark, raison-y chili aromas come out of it.
01:35
This is a general theme here,
01:37
spiky ingredients that you can only pick up with tongs.
01:40
Jesus.
01:42
I just feel like I'm going through
01:44
my old Diana Kennedy cookbooks and finally putting
01:47
the faces to the names.
01:49
This is epazote,
01:53
which is also frequently added to beans
01:54
to give it a really, almost like anise-y flavor.
01:58
I don't actually ever know if I've seen this
02:00
at a supermarket before.
02:03
Oh my gosh, it smells really minty.
02:06
It's a manzano pepper, it looks like an apple.
02:08
This is surprisingly like sweet and mild and fruity tasting.
02:13
Truth in advertising there.
02:14
The lemons are sweet lemons, amarillo lemons,
02:19
and the oranges are sour.
02:21
You get into some really insane textures here.
02:25
This just looks like a rock. (laughs)
02:29
This is like a surfboard or a cooking ingredient.
02:33
I guess you would probably like
02:34
strap it to the roof of your car and take it home
02:37
and just like break it down, eat off of it for a few days.
02:41
Many mysteries to uncover here.
02:44
You'll find plenty of freshly caught gulf seafood
02:46
at the fish counter at Fiesta Mart,
02:48
but I'm more excited by the stuff
02:49
you don't usually see at the supermarket.
02:52
Sacks of still wriggling crawfish
02:54
and catfish that's still alive
02:56
and trying to make a break for it.
02:58
You have your fresh tilapia,
03:01
your fresh catfish trying to make their escape.
03:04
So you can come here and buy a literal sack of crawfish.
03:09
We're going from fish that's so fresh that it's alive
03:13
to fish that has gone completely other side
03:15
of its life cycle.
03:17
This is so cool.
03:18
Okay, this fish has been cut in half
03:21
and now it kind of looks like two fish.
03:24
Just like a popcorn stand at a movie theater,
03:27
there's no way you can walk past Fiesta Mart's selection
03:30
of crispy, crunchy pork products
03:32
without stopping for a taste
03:34
and then sticking around to pick up some house-made chorizo
03:37
or an over-sized pork shoulder
03:39
to make into carnitas at home.
03:41
I can't try the ground chicharones
03:43
without having them in their intact, warm, crispy form.
03:48
What are the differences here because...?
03:53
Right, okay.
03:56
So this is more like a meal.
03:58
Or a snack, snack right?
04:01
In the frying process most of the fat renders out of it
04:04
so you're just left with the crunchiness.
04:09
Mmm and a very slight chewiness.
04:13
It's kind of addictive.
04:14
It would be really hard to walk by this station every day.
04:18
So this one, here I'm gonna stand by this,
04:20
it's more of a meal.
04:22
You see there's still some meat hanging onto it,
04:25
a little bit of fat in there too.
04:29
Mmm, pretty much like biting into a piece of fried chicken,
04:33
only instead of fried chicken, it's pork.
04:35
Oh boy, carnitas usually take a pretty long time to cook.
04:40
In this case, it's just right here for you.
04:42
Super tender, super fatty.
04:46
Okay, they even sculpt their ground meat
04:50
into the shape of a pig.
04:52
From five varieties of Central American sour cream,
04:55
to cheeses you'll want to crumble over beans
04:57
or melt over enchiladas, Fiesta Mart's dairy section
05:01
goes far beyond that pre-shredded, so-called Mexican cheese
05:04
you'd find at most stores.
05:06
It's an almost encyclopedic selection,
05:09
only rivaled by their assortment of tortillas
05:11
and tamale dough.
05:13
Corn tortillas in a rainbow of colors.
05:16
You might be able to find fresh corn tortillas
05:18
in your supermarket, but you probably won't find
05:21
tortillas enchiladas, chili infused corn tortillas,
05:25
chocolate chip tamale dough.
05:27
You can have an entire meal of tamales,
05:30
from appetizer, main course, to dessert.
05:32
Strawberry tamale dough.
05:34
One more thing that I've never seen before,
05:36
Fresqui-Ricas tortillas.
05:38
So this is a half-cooked flour tortilla,
05:41
which means that you can just finish up the cooking
05:44
right in your own pan.
05:46
Right alongside all the food,
05:48
you'll find everything else you need
05:50
to live the Fiesta Mart lifestyle.
05:52
From molcajetes, to exotic variations on Bingo,
05:55
to cowboy paraphernalia, and of course,
05:58
spoons that are taller than most humans.
06:01
Okay so, that giant leaf from before,
06:04
I guess you put it in a pot and you stir it with this.
06:07
I can only imagine how powerful I would feel
06:10
like stirring a pot of beans with one of these tools.
06:13
You can imagine the kind of cauldron
06:16
and bubbling oil that would require that.
06:19
Just loving this general theme
06:21
of cooking for a whole bunch of people.
06:25
So cosmetic, toiletries section,
06:27
all the things you need to look good,
06:29
including cowboy hats.
06:36
I really want a pair of these.
06:38
Like, kid's cowboy boots.
06:41
After all of that exploring,
06:42
I've kicked up quite a thirst.
06:44
Luckily, Fiesta Mart boasts
06:46
a veritable rainbow of refreshments,
06:48
including a full line of neon colored,
06:51
cane sugar sweetened Mexican sodas
06:53
and cult varieties of super bubbly mineral water.
06:56
We have the jarritos in all of their colors and flavors.
07:01
Okay, I'm gonna crack this open, coconut juice with pulp.
07:07
It gives me something to drink
07:09
and something to chew at the same time.
07:11
You don't need a beverage and a snack,
07:12
it's just like all in one.
07:14
It's almost lunch time and it's becoming harder and harder
07:17
to resist the snacks that fill the aisles,
07:19
especially since they all seem to be saltier,
07:21
spicier, and way more tongue-numbing
07:24
than what I'm used to.
07:25
It's all just a mere appetizer
07:26
before hitting up the taqueria,
07:28
conveniently located right in the store.
07:32
So we're here at the prepared food counter at Fiesta Mart.
07:35
Not only can you get tacos,
07:37
you can get a whole fried fish here.
07:39
And an amazing assortment of these agua frescas,
07:42
which I will definitely get one.
07:44
Is that al pastor over there?
07:46
And can I get a fried fish too?
07:48
Just a little light snack with my taco.
07:52
So I chose like probably the messiest taco ever.
07:57
Okay, ready.
08:03
It pretty much tastes like your grandmother's beef stew
08:05
but way more flavorful.
08:07
I'm gonna dig into this fish here.
08:09
Skin is definitely really crispy from the frying.
08:13
This is the same tilapias that were swimming around
08:15
in the seafood section.
08:19
Crispy, a little bit salty, spicy.
08:23
Pretty much the freshest fried whole fish
08:26
I've ever eaten in a supermarket.
08:29
It's delicious.
08:31
Yeah.
08:52
(laughs) This is really like a meeting place,
08:54
people of all cultures, all looking for a good meal.
08:59
And that pretty much says it all.
09:01
I've had my horizons expanded, my tongue scorched,
09:04
and my ego humbled by the vast selection of foods
09:06
here at Fiesta Mart.
09:08
It's a welcome reminder about how much I still have to learn
09:11
about Central American and Tex Mex cooking.
09:14
But thanks to the genuine welcome I've received here,
09:16
I won't be shy about diving right in
09:18
and if I experience any bouts of anxiety,
09:21
I'll always be able to calm myself
09:22
with a couple of pieces of crispy fried pork.