Sunday, 2 November 2008

Barrio Chino (Chinatown), Buenos Aires

According to Google, quite a few visitors to this blog come here to discover tips and info about Buenos Aires and travel in Argentina in general and I've not been posting much of that type of content recently so I'm going to try and do a weekly post to introduce different neighbourhoods and events.

We went to Barrio Chino recently which is a small area of just a couple of blocks where there are lots of restaurants (Chinese ones strangely enough!) and supermarkets where you can buy all sorts of oriental produce including spices and soy sauce etc. It's one of the best places to buy fresh fish as they have a great selection and they are very reasonably priced. I decided to buy some merluza (similar to hake) so I bought 2 huge fish for 23 pesos (US$7).

They de-gut them in a quick n' dirty fashion for you but don't de-bone them. I put the fish in the fridge on Friday when we got home. We had family commitments most of the weekend and stayed over at the in-laws Saturday night and didn't get back to the apartment until Sunday evening.

When I opened the fridge there was the most god awful, noxious, abominable smell you could ever imagine. Not to be deterred, I removed the fish and washed them and filleted them. The smell subsided.

I put one in a large pot and cooked it slowly with coconut milk and veg for fish stew which was quite tasty. I stuck the other one in the freezer. Bad Move! Opened the freezer the following day and the same waft of wrank nasty fish hit me in the face. I immediately dumped the fish but the smell won't go away. It's like that Seinfeld episode where he can't get the smell of B.O. out of the car.

Anybody want to buy a fridge - going cheap?

How to get there: Intersection of Juramento and Arribenos in Belgrano.
Subway D to Juramento or there is a bus depot right beside it

Tags: ..Barrio Chino Buenos Aires, Chinatown, Chinese in Buenos Aires, smelly fish, where to buy spices Buenos Aires..

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Anonymous,  November 02, 2008 1:02 pm  

Oh dear, not much of an advert for Barrio China - full of stinking fish. Oddly enough, we have a big Chinese community in Belfast but no Chinatown. They're just scattered all over.

Megan November 02, 2008 6:25 pm  

Yeah, I think when you buy fish you're pretty much supposed to eat it that day!

Now I feel like going to Chinatown...

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 02, 2008 9:00 pm  

@Nick: Give it time - they'll set up a central locale

@Megan: I know - I was a dope - if you go eat it straight away!

Anonymous,  November 03, 2008 12:05 am  

Chinatown? I live in a town in China, not quite the same. The Chinese diaspora is quite amazing, a lot like the Irish. In BA, no less.

Maybe you could make the fridge your fish cooler. I won't buy it.

Baino November 03, 2008 1:41 am  

Gawd Quickie, you're supposed to eat it while it's still odourless and slimy and has bright eyes! Didn't your mother tell you anything? Well you're alive to tell the tale so I guess it did you no harm. Clean the fridge out with warm soapy with a couple of splashes of vanilla essence in the water.

I love 'China Towns', the smell, the shop windows. God knows how long that peking duck's been hanging in the window but it tastes fine!

TCL November 03, 2008 8:32 am  

Was there any puke involved?

Nice one quick. Didn't even know my people made it to BsAs and set up shop.

TCL November 03, 2008 11:37 am  

Mmmm... love the ducks.

Baino the ducks actually not Peking. Most ethnic Chinese immigrants are Cantonese and so are their ducks. Don't know why except that's just the Chinese province with a seafaring tradition.

If it's a proper duck house the birds should be going faster than the fellas can hang them up!

Anonymous,  November 03, 2008 12:44 pm  

oh man...stinking refrigerator - I can remember storing trout in the freezer when I was a kid....made the ice cream taste like fish YUCK!

after washing the 'fridge and the vanilla essence thing...put a box of baking soda in there. That'll soak up any residual odor (odour??)

Broke But Still Drinking November 03, 2008 1:35 pm  

I'll trade you one beer for one fridge?

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 03, 2008 1:51 pm  

@ Stevo: I think I'll pass on the fish cooler idea - I'd still have to smell it

@ Baino: I know, I meant to clean and freeze it but things just kept me from the task at hand

@ TCL: Almost puked but not quite. There are a lot of Chinese and Koreans here. Most local supermarkets are run by Chinese or Koreans.

@ Will: Thanks for the tips

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 03, 2008 1:52 pm  

@ Broke: I'd trade my Granny for a beer - DONE!

Martin November 03, 2008 2:24 pm  

I had a filthy joke about are you sure it was the fridge door and not the bedroom door you were opening but that would be unbecoming and uncalled for.

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 03, 2008 4:17 pm  

@ Xbox: I'm glad you didn't go there - unbecoming indeed!

Anonymous,  November 03, 2008 6:05 pm  

Yes, as Will said - baking soda - you can even mix it with a little bit of water to form a paste in a saucer and it should remove the smell! Good Luck!

Anonymous,  November 03, 2008 11:27 pm  

Fish is evil, Irish people don't eat fish, well we don't eat fish that's not battered and incinerated in hot oil for at least 10 minutes!.......what's happened to you!

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 03, 2008 11:31 pm  

@Gwynaeth: Thnx - do you do house calls?

@Roy: I've developed foreign habits since leaving the ol' sod

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 03, 2008 11:48 pm  

@ ALL: OK - the soapy water and baking soda took care of the fridge but what about the freezer?

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 03, 2008 11:57 pm  

@ All: - The ice cubes smell of fish! Ewwww!

TCL November 04, 2008 10:31 am  

fish cubes. good for cocktails.

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 04, 2008 4:09 pm  

@ TCL: What kinda cocktails you be drinking?!!!

TCL November 04, 2008 5:13 pm  

The gnarly kind. Might even be better than the gin margarita I made out of desperation once.

Anonymous,  November 05, 2008 9:55 am  

Fish in Buenos Aires? No, my dear, not a good call.

Fresh fish in Argentina is available in Mar del Plata (along with the rest of coastal towns), the Parana river (specially in Santa Fe, Corrientes, Entre Rios, Misiones), and the lakes region (Bariloche, San Martin, Junin).


Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 05, 2008 2:34 pm  

@ Jerry: Thanks for the tips and for dropping in.
Yes - I've had some nice Merluza in Mar del Plata and delicious trout in Bariloche. Puerto Madryn is a good spot for fish also.

Anonymous,  November 08, 2008 5:46 pm  

I really did not get tempted to go there.... *giggles*

Maybe you should use that fridge as an aquarium instead? Recycling is so trendy nowadays.

Anonymous,  November 10, 2008 9:13 am  

Not really! Although you could ask your brother to send me! I wouldn't mind a 'working' holiday!

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 10, 2008 12:08 pm  

@ Gwynaeth: I asked him and he said he needs you in your proper place ironing his shirts and cooking and cleaning for him ;-)

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