Home » Groceries, Tacos

Durham Green Flea Market (or, street food at the swap meet)

Posted by TÜF 19 May 2010 18 Comments

The Durham Green Flea Market (1600 E. Pettigrew St.) is the largest indoor/outdoor flea market in Durham.  Every Saturday and Sunday between 7:00am and 4:00pm, a wide variety of vendors set up shop to sell almost anything you can imagine.  Clothing, furniture, produce, bootleg cds/dvds, stereo equipment, and trinkets of all varieties are on offer.  But more importantly, for this taco hound, there is a really good selection of various latin street food also available.  It was pretty crowded when I went on Sunday afternoon so I didn’t have the opportunity to take any food pictures, but let me just tell you that this food carnival is a very good thing.

Inside the market building, vendors were selling bean pies, smoothies, cakes from “the cake lady”, roasted nuts,  tortas, fried chicken and biscuits, agua frescas, elotes con queso, and hot dogs.  There was even a Cuban Puerto Rican family selling mofongo!  Outside in the open air market, taqueria offerings abounded.

A lady selling tamales from a giant steaming pot seemed to be a popular choice with patrons, so I sampled a chicken tamale ($1.00) .  The tamale was wrapped in a banana leaf and the chicken tucked inside the lovely masa was bathed in salsa verde.  Really tasty.

At another vendor, I got a taco al pastor (with pineapple!) and an excellent pupusa pollo y queso with slaw.   On my way out of the market, I spotted an old latino lady making sopes by hand.  The finished product looked so good, I couldn’t resist the urge to stop for a large sope al pastor.  The next time you find yourself with a weekend hankering for authentic street food, do yourself a favor and head on down to the Durham Green Flea Market.

Durham Green Flea Market
1900 East Pettigrew Street
Hours:  Saturdays and Sundays 7:00am to 4:00pm
Phone:  (919) 308-7657 or (919) 599-6166


  • DID said:

    Saw this in the N&O last week, cool you check it out! It sounds awesome.


  • TSQ75 said:

    the Pupusa ladies right along the wall outside are the sweetest ladies ever. on a cool november sunday morning, i was intrigued by the simmering pot she had there and began asking her about it (thankfully i speak spanish) and she offered me a sample–an entire cup- of this hot milky sweet oat concoction that could easily be a meal. she wouldnt take money for it, but was pleased that i enjoyed it. a group and i got out pupusas, sat along the wall and ate, and were ready to go and they never bothered us about the cost, we had to remind them what we got…lol

    such warm ladies, like aunties in a kitchen

    another vendor has awesome aguas frescas and fresh juices and Limonadas. another has these amazing stuffed churros. i’ve never heard of a stuffed churro in my life, only ever having the lovely fried tubes of dough, but these lil gimmicky things were delish, filled with a vanilla/cream cheese type cream…

    taco vendors were great and efficient as usual. closer to the time we left (1230ish) these guys from southern virginia were setting up their both with fresh fish they had caught that morning and the day before. they would be selling the fish and frying it up for lunch! MM!

    on a final note…Cubans selling Mofingo? froma Cuban, that’s a new one on me, but we are nothing if not enterprising. ;)


    TSQ75 replies on May 20th, 2010 at 9:14 am:

    I meant Mofongo


    TÜF replies on May 20th, 2010 at 10:21 am:

    Yes, the mofongo was at the very back of the indoor market. That stand was selling mostly fried chicken, fries, tortas, etc. but the menu also listed mofongo and I observed a batch being prepared behind the counter. This particular stand was also proudly displaying a Cuban flag. I didn’t see the pupusa ladies you were talking about, but I’ll definitely look for them next time.


    KW replies on May 21st, 2010 at 8:49 am:

    Mofongo is Puerto Rican. The Puerto Rican flag is the same as the Cuban flag except the colors are inverted, i.e. the red and blue are switched. Are you sure you haven’t mixed up your countries of origin here?

    TÜF replies on May 21st, 2010 at 9:50 am:

    My visit this past Sunday is now a faded memory, so at this point I can’t say with 100% certainty which flag it was. However, I can say for sure that the vendor’s menu poster wasn’t exclusively Cuban or Puerto Rican (fried chicken & french fries?). Maybe someone can confirm on a future visit!

    TSQ75 replies on May 21st, 2010 at 11:37 am:

    KW…mofongo is typical to both Puerto Rico as well as the Dominican republic…but no, not Cuba. plantains yes, mofongo no. lol

    not that it really matters…i just thought it was odd and curious and interesting…potentially a blended family venture, or a cuban that just really likes mofongo, fried chicken and fries…lord knows i’ve known more than a few. ;)

    Peter replies on May 23rd, 2010 at 9:31 pm:

    It was a Puerto Rican flag.

    The Mofongo on the menu was $10 and it said it had shrimp.

    TÜF replies on May 24th, 2010 at 9:03 am:

    Thanks for setting me straight on the flag question. I’ve revised the post to give credit to the correct nationality.

    MEZ replies on May 20th, 2010 at 8:37 pm:

    I’ve had stuffed churros in Costa Rica and they were a surprise for me when I saw them, too. Those were stuffed with extra thick, sweetened, condensed milk, not cream cheese. I’m not sure churros need stuffing, but hey, I don’t say no to extra sugar.


  • ACW said:

    This is fabulous! I’ve been meaning to check this place out; I didn’t know there were food vendors…


    TSQ75 replies on May 20th, 2010 at 11:01 am:

    some are inside, most are outside. :)


  • Sant said:

    This is the kind of “hidden gems” reporting I’ve come to expect from CD. Awesome!

    It’s not Durham but if you are in Carrboro head to the pastelaria at Carrboro Plaza. They sell those stuffed churros there along with an amazing assortment of pastries that are made in the kitchen/bakery in the back of the store.


  • Christina G said:

    Oh my gosh, great post! Made me hungry =) I just read it aloud to my husband an we’re like: uhm, we need to go there asap!


  • Sue said:

    Muchas Gracias for the write up. I am sitting here pleasantly full from a taco pastor, chicken pupusa (very rich and cheesy) and then two more tacos from a different stand. What a find. I brought home a case of mangos–the produce was so inexpensive. Am so looking forward to another visit.


  • ACW said:

    Took the kids this morning and got a humongous watermelon for a song! :)


  • kaferine de nerve said:

    I stumbled upon this placed months ago during an early morning bike ride. Yesterday, I saw a lot of new gringos there.
    The pupusas ladies will be cooking and serving at the Beaver Queen Pageant.

    The Bull City Riders offered pony rides at the Green Market yesterday. They have been invited to bring the pony wagon to the BQP.

    I love going to the green market. This is a real street food scene.


  • KW said:

    Went this Sunday and got some very tasty pupusas and stuffed churros (I recommend the cream cheese filling). We met the owner on the way in and he was one of the nicest people I have ever interacted with. The flea market’s been operational for a year and a half now and he said they’re thinking of opening another location near South Square featuring organic produce, if I’m recalling that correctly.

    Definitely will be back to try some of the other stands and potentially for produce since it looked good and was very inexpensive.


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