Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Delicious: El Club Mexicano Candies at Mexican Bazaar

The thing about Mexican candy is that you can never predict exactly how much hot pepper they put in that lollipop.

Candies import easily so most Mexican markets carry a selection, and the El Club Mexicano candies at the Mexican Bazaar are a good place to start.  The Super Mango Lollipop at El Patio was so salty and hot that I almost couldn't finish it.  But El Club Mexicano packages a variety of Mexican brands into 99-cent bags.  You get 4-10 candies in each pack, including several that are a nice introduction -- sweet with just a touch of hot pepper or sour tamarind.

Mexican Bazaar in southern Columbia is a small market with Mexican essentials, including dried beans, spices, pasta, sodas and peppers.  Another source for my favorite chipotle peppers.  It doesn't have the selection or the prepared foods of Lily's Mexican Market up near Rte 175, but you can buy the basics.  Plus, you can buy soccer jerseys and hats.

(Update: The Mexican Bazaar closed in or around February 2009.  However, you can buy similar candies at Lily's or other markets.  I saw a big display at the Super Grand market in Laurel.)

The El Club candies are in a display at the back -- colored crackers, a coconut candy in the shape of the Mexican flag, something called "crayons."  Since I enjoyed the Tamarind Maracas, I went with two flavors of tamarind -- "solo" or with hot pepper.  The Rellenitos Frescas hard candies are the "solo" tamarind flavor, really just a sugary candy with a touch of tamarind flavor.  The Pulparindo kicks it up a notch.  A rectangle of tamarind pulp dusted with salt and chili pepper.  This is my favorite.  Candy sweet, but like the off-spring of a lemon drop and a cinnamon fireball.

I also enjoyed the "big corn" lollipop by Super Ricos Elotones.  It's mild like the Rellenitos Frescas with guajillo chili dusted over a lollipop.  Not as hard core as the Tamarind Maracas or the Tama-Raca that the Mexican Bazaar sells at the cash register.  But way better than the lollipop you took at the dry cleaner. 

If you want Mexican groceries, definitely check out Lily's Mexican Market, which offers hot corn tortillas.   You can also try Tere's Latin Market in Ellicott City, or -- no joke -- you can't go wrong shopping for Hispanic food at the H Mart supermarket in Catonsville.  Or check out the full listing of ethnic and organic markets.

The Mexican Bazaar is in the same shopping center as An Loi, whose Vietnamese is worth a long drive.   Check out the salted plum and salted lemon sodas.

Mexican Bazaar
7104 Minstrel Way #7
Columbia, MD  21045

NEAR:  On Snowden River Pkwy north of Broken Land and south of the Home Depot.  Minstrel Way has a gas station and a KFC at its intersection with Snowden.  The Mexican Bazaar is in the shopping center behind the gas station.  It doesn't have a sign.  It is between a cleaner and CK Nails.

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