Photo by Silvia Morales

Walking into La Ordeña, located in the heart of 26th Street, is a much-needed experience for those of us who migrated or are deeply connected to our roots. The scents, colors, sounds, and decorations all make you feel like you have found a home away from home. 

There are colorful containers full of tantalizing offerings organized in ways reminiscent of the local mercados in Mexico. They have extensive offerings of condiments, moles (spicy and labor-intensive sauces), candies, cheeses, clay dishes, as well as items that are otherwise nearly impossible to find in Chicago, like nata, an artisanal milk curd that is not easy to find in any large supermarket in Chicago or in Mexico itself. It is like finding a small piece of home that is unknown to many, making it even more precious to foodies like myself. 

Long-term customer Heidi Ramirez, when asked why she liked to go to La Ordeña, said, “Because I felt it was a little Mexico. The smell, the traditional Mexican stuff: lavaderos (washboards), molcajetes (mortars), salseros (salsa containers), tortilleros (tortilla warmers), mandiles (aprons). It reminds me of my childhood, like candy and chile at the same time.” 

The location on 26th is the third business under the name of La Ordeña, which despite its small size, is able to fill a niche with those who seek these authentic ingredients. If you are looking for an authentic small supermarket that can transport you into another space and time, I highly suggest you visit La Ordeña.

Cremeria La Ordeña, 3234 W. 26th St. Monday–Saturday, 9am–8pm; Sunday, 9am–7pm. (773) 823-1336.

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