BIEN­VENIDO A TI­JUANA

DINE and Destinations - - SARA SAYS: WHERE TO DINE NOW - www.tur­istal­i­bre.com

Don't come to Ti­juana on a full stom­ach. The busiest bor­der cross­ing in the west­ern hemi­sphere has also be­come a launch­ing point for some amaz­ing food tourism. Taco tours and craft brew­ery tours are all the rage. Our group meets Der­rik Chinn of

Turista Li­bre in San Ysidro. We cross into Mex­ico, board a de­com­mis­sioned school bus, and be­gin our Mex­i­can Mar­ket Hop. A stone's throw away, and we're in an­other world. We visit Mer­cado

de Arte­sa­nias to shop for art­work and ce­ram­ics. Out­side the mar­ket the aroma of

car­ni­tas beck­ons. Who knew that a place that looks like an auto body shop would also be mak­ing the most de­li­cious fresh tacos? Next up, So­bre

ruedas la villa, where each taco is more scrump­tious

than the last. I pair them with

Te­juino, a sweet and salty corn juice served with a scoop of lime slushy. Last stop,

Mer­cado Miguel Hi­dalgo, a farmer's mar­ket where we sam­ple won­der­fully bal­anced cof­fees, me­an­der through a world of pep­pers, vegeta­bles, mole and spices that re­flect the ter­roir of Mex­ico. Here I de­light in savoury duck tacos with hoisin driz­zle. De­spite the gen­uine fun, one can't help no­tice the om­nipres­ence of the bor­der, and that Mex­i­can devel­op­ment pushes right up to it. View­ing the dif­fer­ence on ei­ther side is pro­found, but the value of this tour is the in­ad­ver­tent but in­evitable un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion we gain with just a taste of the in­dus­tri­ous­ness and the flavours at the heart of a striv­ing com­mu­nity.

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