How much you spend on food in Chapala and Ajijic really depends a lot on your lifestyle. First of all, the quality of food in Chapala and Ajijic is fabulous. When we first arrived here, we learned about some berry farms that were on the south side of Lake Chapala where we could get different berries that are very inexpensive all year round. Now, because of the explosion of berry farms in Chapala and Ajijic, we can get just about any berry such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.
The fruits and vegetables in the markets are predominantly local produce in Chapala and Ajijic, which makes the cost very inexpensive. I remember the first time I cooked broccoli and cauliflower, neither of which are my husband's favorite, it was like eating a whole new vegetable. We didn't know that vegetables in Chapala and Ajijic could taste that good.
The prices of vegetables in Chapala and Ajijic are about a third of what they cost in Canada. We also have the advantage of picking fruits and vegetables from our own garden, which is way cheaper and better. Spending 150 pesos (US $8.00) a week on vegetables is already pretty high. Bananas costs 8 pesos a kilo (less than $0.25 per pound), oranges costs 6 to 12 pesos a kilo (less than $0.50 per pound), and pineapples are priced at 10 pesos a kilo ($0.25 per pound). A little loaf of multigrain bread, which is not from a commercial bakery, will cost you 30 pesos (less than $2.00). We buy the whole rotisserie chicken and spend about 90 pesos (about $5.00). The price of cleaned shrimps has gone up to250 pesos a kilo (a little over $6.00 per pound).
The restaurants in Chapala and Ajijic are great. We get a variety international cuisine such as Thai, Indian, Chinese and even Greek. Argentinian food is very popular here in Chapala and Ajijic. We think street food in Chapala and Ajijic is fabulous but you need to observe the street vendor first before you decide to eat there. You want to look for cleanliness and if a lot of Mexicans are eating there. If the person cooking the food is also handling the money we walk away unless they put a clean plastic bag on their hands, or if every single plate is not covered with a new plastic bag. We don’t want to eat at a place where they're washing plates behind them in a bucket of water. You see your food cooked in front of you at street food places, whereas in restaurants you don't know what's going on behind those closed doors. Street food in Chapala and Ajijic is excellent and I love the home made salsas and chopped up cilantros.
My husband loves to eat tortas, which are 34 pesos (less than $2.00). Torta is a dry hard bun in which they take the inside out and put a layer of bean sauce. They put lots of wonderful pork and you pour tomato sauce over the top of it to make it soft again. You can get 3 tacos at the market in Chapala and Ajijic with all kinds of toppings, for 30 pesos (less than $2.00). A “lonche” which is like a submarine sandwich that has meat, tomatoes, avocados, onions and sauce, will be about 30 to 35 pesos (less than $2.00). You can get a good BLT hamburger and fries for 60 to 70 pesos (less than $4.00) at El Jardin de Ninette Restaurant in Ajijic.
I love meat but hate to cook it so I always enjoy going out for an excellent meal of steak or ribs. The prices of steak or ribs here in Chapala and Ajijic are a quarter of what we would pay for the meal back in Canada. Adelita Bar & Grill claim they're the best rib place in Chapala and Ajijic and is where you can get a whole rack of ribs for only 149 pesos ($8.00) on Tuesday nights. Tony Roma's Steakhouse Restaurant has an American menu with steaks, ribs and chicken that costs from 150 to 200 pesos ($8.00 to $10.00) which is fairly pricey but a very nice meal. The Mexican side of the menu will have tacos, burritos and sincronizadas that cost from 40 to 80 pesos ($2.00 to $4.00). Sincronizada is a tortilla-based sandwich the size of a dinner plate, which has meat, green peppers and onions, and is sliced into six. A sincronizada is very similar to a quesadilla.