For American expats in Buenos Aires, the city's Chinatown is a delight filled with spices, sauces and fresh fish. Only about six square blocks, the barrio barely warrants a mention in our two guidebooks. But stay in Buenos Aires for any length of time, and it's hard not to tire of the limited variety in the Argentine diet.
When I cook from a recipe here, I don't even try to find all the ingredients listed. For example, the other day I made a lemon risotto with squash without parsley or Parmesan cheese and with the wrong kind of rice. Argentines may be fine with their meat and carbohydrate-based diet with minimal spices, but we've been badly craving vegetables and new flavors.
When we ask other expats where to find hard-to-locate foods, the most common answer is "Barrio Chino," or Chinatown (which is actually inhabited largely by Taiwanese Argentines).
So today we finally made our way to Barrio Chino to see for ourselves. We were walking down the main street, peering into windows, when what did we spy? More than a dozen containers of loose nuts, dried fruits, grains, lentils, and more! We immediately entered the store, thrilled to find a mixture of Asian foods and expat favorites. We came home with hummus, nuts, dried fruit, salmon fillets, bok choy, scallions, cilantro, black sesame seeds, noodles, sweet chili sauce, fish sauce, nutella, and rice crispies.
For dinner, we had a feast: noodle soup, honey soy salmon and cilantro-cucumber cocktails.