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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The China Rose

Today I met a friend for lunch and a very fruitful shopping trip in Barrio Chino, the perfect outing for a hazy Tuesday afternoon. Barrio Chino, or Chinatown, in Buenos Aires is pretty small version of the Chinatown you may be used to in other big cities. It's 2 square blocks to be exact. This mini-barrio is located in Belgrano, right next to the Belgrano train station, and there are treasures to be discovered all over the place. There are little trinket shops all over the place, most of which are filled with cheap, Chinese-imported plastic junk; little waving cats or plastic beads, but sometimes they have hidden treasures.
I originally saw this style of tea cup at Sirop Folie, a cool little tea room across the way from Sirop the restaurant (which was also really liked). I loved that the mugs are perfect for loose leaf tea and then you can balance the leaf strainer on the mug lid - genius! I was really excited to find them available for purchase, not to mention the adorable patterns, blue and yellow, just like our kitchen, and blue and white, which my Grandmother once told me was timeless. There are plenty of other ceramic patterns as well, I thought they were a good mix of practical and gimmicky. Now I just need to buy some loose leaf tea. Moving on.

We stopped at China Rose - Mendoza 1689, Barrio Chino - for lunch, and it was surprisingly good. The restaurant is clean, nicely furnished and (very importantly for the 2 pregnant ladies) has really nice bathrooms. I've been to China Rose once before and it was good then too, so it seemed an appropriate place to go for a second visit. I am no expert, but the items I've had here were tasty, non-greasy and straightforward, basically, everything that I'm looking for when I order Chinese.

They offer a fixed price menu for lunch, either $28 or $32 pesos which gets you a drink, appetizer, entree and dessert or coffee. The entree items to choose from are pretty standard, rice or noodle dishes on the $28 peso list - chow mien, fried rice, etc and $32 pesos gets you a meat based dish - pineapple chicken, broccoli chicken and such. As an appetizer, we each ordered the veggie spring rolls which, hilariously, came on a plain white plate. No garnish, no sauce, just rolls. In fairness, there are sauces available on your table, it just looks funny having the spring rolls loose and moving all around your plate.

I ordered the chicken fried rice as my main dish, which is maybe my favorite item on any Chinese food menu and it didn't disappoint. My friend had the pineapple chicken, which was good but would have been better if it had come with a side of rice.

The coffee at the end of the meal was by far the worst thing I had, it was so bitter I couldn't stomach it. All in all it was a good meal and I'm happy to have a standard lunch spot for my China town adventures.

After lunch we went to the grocery store two doors down, the Oriental Asia Market, and picked up some cooking goodies, including quite a few seafood items. Bs.As. is not known for it's seafood, but if your looking for ingredients, Barrio Chino is known as the best place in town to purchase fish and other seafood items for a reasonable price. A word of warning, be ready for the smell, the markets have lots of open air seafood departments which make for a pretty smelly shopping experience.


  1. Okay, I think I just have to admit that I will probably be commenting on most of your posts from here on. LOVE that you found the tea mugs! Very practical for loose tea and very pretty! In other news from the USA, it's snowing here in Chicago. Winter is officially underway and I'm missing the BA "winter" that we had. Can't wait to read the posts from your family Christmas in Argentina.

  2. I know, I thought of you when I saw these mugs! You can post as often as you like, we miss you guys! I cannot even imagine snow right now - it was a scorcher today. Enjoy your eggnog and peanut butter!