The salmon-colored Mercado Central is, strangely, not really the central market where people buy fruits, egetables, meat and fish. However, it is the heart of visits to this interesting part of town, for tourists. It's a large iron-reinforced structure prefabricated in England and assembled in Chilea nd it houses some pricey vegetable vendors and a few souveneirs, but what really shines here is the eateries. There are several larger and a few smaller ones, and many people choose Don Augusto as their favorite, though you'll have to try a few and see what you think. The portions are tremendous, and you're just as likely as not to have a full band (with an accordion) playing beside you as you eat.
Choose upstairs seating for a better view of the market, and while you're there, try out one of Chile's many seafood varieties, like locos (abalone), machas a la parmesana (razor clams with cheese), centolla (king crab), pastel de jaiba (a creamy crab bisque/pudding) or just some reineta (pomfret) grilled. if you come early enough on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you can find revelers drinking some consommé before heading home.