6. How to order at the market

El mercado” (The market) in Spain consists of various stalls, some of which are unique to the country

Pulsa aquí para verlos

  1. “El charcutero” (the ham butcher) who works at “la charcutería”, where you can find “jamón” and most meats used in “embutidos”.
  2. “El quesero” (the cheese maker) who works at “la quesería”. For dairy products, not exclusive to cows (sheep & goat’s milk cheeses)
  3. “El carnicero” is the reguar butcher. He works at “la carnicería”, where you can find different cuts of meat, including pork chops and ribs, but not ham or jamón.
  4. “El pescadero” (the fishmonger) works at “la pescadería”, which also sells “marisco”.
  5. “El lechero” (the milkman) who works at “la lechería” for “horchatas” and “batidos”.


Regardless of what they sell…


¿Qué te pongo?


… will be the greeting when you approach the counter. Does that phrase sound familiar? It should because it’s identical to what the barman/barwoman would say. Check the lesson if you don’t remember what it means.




Remember that at a restaurant, you can also use “haber” to ask questions about the food? At the market sick with, tener if you don’t know what you want, as the seller is “in possession” of the product, unlike the waiter.

  • ¿Tienes jamón ibérico o jamón serrano?
  • ¿Tienes queso de Asturias?
  • ¿Tienes aceitunas de Teruel?

Si ya sabes que quieres…

¿Me puedes poner [insert order]?


 … es la forma educada de pedir comida en el mercado. Pero


Ponme / Pongame [insert order]


AKA, el imperativo también se puede usar para estas situaciones.


If you already know what you want…

    Can you get me [insert order]

is the polite way to ask for food at the market. But

    Get me [insert order]

AKA, the imperative is also used for these situations.


turkey-161401_1920The person working will ask…

¿Cuánto quieres?

… or …

¿Cuánto te pongo?

 … to know “how muchyou want or he/she can get you.


Now comes the tricky part: numbers.

To learn how to form them in Spanish, take a minute to read this grammar point, before coming back. Keep in mind the whole time that Spain, like most of Europe, uses the metric system which means gramos (grams) & kilogramos (kilograms) for weight. This gives you two options when placing your order.


250 (doscientos cincuenta) gramos


… or…

cuarto (quarter) de kilo

500 (quinientos) gramos


… or …

medio(half) kilo


Pulsa aquí para ver el consejo

Jessie Willcox Smith - Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Wiki)

Jessie Willcox Smith – Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Wikipedia)

The standard amount of “Jamón Ibérico” people ask for:

120 (ciento viente)

… or …

125 (ciento vienticinco) gramos.


Why that amount? Cien (100) gramos is too little, doscientos (200) gramos is too much, making 120-125 gramos the Goldilocks of weight when it comes to Spain’s famed Iberian ham.

So after saying…

Ponme ciento veinte gramos de jamón

The seller might ask…

¿Cómo lo quieres?

Las opciones son: fino (thin), muy fino (very thin), gordo (thick), muy gordo (very thick) o normal con acento español. Para saber el corte perfecto, mira este vídeo.

how to cut jamon


After cutting the meat by machine or by hand, “el charcutero” (in this case) will ask…


¿Algo más?


Si quieres algo más…

Sí, ponme….

Si no quieres nada más:

No, gracias, ya está.

He or she will then charge you (cobrar) and tell you how much it is (cuánto es)


¡Información importante!

¿Cuánto es? (How much is it?) is usually the phrase for the end of the transaction. To know the price or worth of something, the verb “valer” is used. It is irregular, but you usually only use it in the 3rd person, mostly singular.

This form should be easy to remember as it is the exact same word for “OK” — Vale
— in Castilian Spanish.

For example:

  • ¿Cuánto vale 200 gramos de Jamón Ibérico?
  • ¿Cuánto vale un kilo de gambas?
  • ¿Cuánto vale medio kilo de fresas?

Estos son los precios actuales para…

Jamón Iberico 49.69 €/Kg

Jamón Iberico 49.69 €/Kg

Jamón serrano 24.69 €/Kg

Jamón serrano 24.69 €/Kg

Gambas 47.56 €/Kg

Gambas 47.56 €/Kg

Rape 13.50€/Kg

Rape 13.50€/Kg

Fresas de Huelva 1.99€/Kg

Fresas de Huelva 1.99€/Kg

La caña de lomo Iberico 72.75 €/Kg

Caña de lomo Ibérico 72.75 €/Kg


  1. Jamón Ibérico” and other meat based “embutidos” are priced per kilo, but bought by the 100 grms.
  2. Marisco ” is usually priced per 250grm, verduras y frutas per kilo.
  3. “Pescado” is usually the weight of the particular fish.
  4. “La caña de lomo Ibérico” is usually sold in a sealed package like the high priced sausage it is.


Sugerencia de Paco. Si quieres ponerte un reto, intenta calcular los precios de arriba en español. Incluso a la gente casi bilingüe, le cuesta hacer las cuentas en el segundo idioma. 


If you want to give yourself a challenge, try doing the above calculations in Spanish. Even people who are close to bilingual often have trouble doing calculations in their second (usually non-maternal) language.

[WpProQuiz 11]

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