MILONGUERA'S CHOW GUIDE: June 7, 2009
Hong Kong Style
Montañeses 2149 (Belgrano, Capital Federal)
There are Asian restaurants around. Some are even OK. However, I've noticed that the one crucial element conspicuously missing from many an Asian restaurant is Asian customers. I mean, where are all the people from the "yellow countries," a term Argentines learn to denote the yellow-colored countries populated by "yellow" people? (Ooooooh! The Yellow People. Be afraid.)
I am, according to the white Argentines of European descent, a person of yellow hue, and, therefore, obviously from one of the only 3 countries that make up the exotic East in their minds: China, Korea, or Japan. However, being of Southeast Asian descent, thankyouvermuch, I am browner than my yellow brothers and sisters. Still, this brown can get down with mellow yellow, and geez, it's nice to walk into a Chinese restaurant where half the tables are filled with noisy, slurpy, eating-with-your-mouth-open Chinese, Taiwanese, or Hong Kongense people. It makes me all warm and fuzzy, and I feel instantly en casa. Call it an Asian thing. Call it a good Asian restaurant.
I noted recently in an Argentina mag that mentioned good Asian places in Buenos Aires. They couldn't have been more wrong. Palitos in Barrio Chino? Palitos sucks, and so does the service. What makes this place stand out? First, as aforementioned, lots of Asians. This is a good sign. Most restos in Barrio Chino or sushi joints in the area are filled with Argentines. Where do all the yellow people go eat? I see them in the Asian Market in Barrio Chino (the best one is on Mendoza, just 2 blocks up from Libertador) busily picking out the freshest fish and veggies, so, it seems, they all must eat at home...or come here.
The resto also has great service. The owner is a gracious, energetic woman in her fifties who checks in once in a while with the customers when she's not working the register. The 2 waiters are friendly and efficient.
Lastly, the food. Sigh. If the Asian people think it's finger lickin' good, then it really must be good. Today, we ordered our usual arrolladitos (the ubiquitous and familiar, meat-filled eggrolls) for starters, with a little bowl for my vinegar 'cause we Filipinos like it like that. Then came our whole, deep-fried, sweet and sour fish, complete with tail and mouth agape. You'll have to ask for the bowl of white rice on the side to get the full-on experience. Delish! According to the owner, fish and other mariscos are, in fact, Hong Kong Style's specialty. I'm going to have to free my mind and try something else from the ample-sized menu.
But that didn´t stop me from looking around to check out what the other non-Argentines were eating. Surprise! There's dimsum, except, instead of the little carts that pass each table, one can pick it out of the pink menu that is handwritten in Chinese. Of course, it's all in Chinese, because who else but Asian people eats this stuff? Hell to the yeah, I DO, I say! If I can't read it, I'll just point to the next table, or ask for it in Spanish. Chicken feet! Sea food and pork-filled steamed dumplings! Fried tofu slabs! Siumai! Get in my belly.
After trying out the various Chinese eateries in Barrio Chino and beyond, Hong Kong Style is, by far, our favorite Chinese trough.
Ambiance: For some reason, most of the Chines/Taiwanese/Hong Kongenses/and one random Filipina-American with her Italian partner congretated to the left of the room, part of which is separated by a screen. No idea why, although the waiter pointed out to us that the heaters were on the left. Very clean place for your usual Chinese restaurant. Chairs could be a little more comfortable.
Service: Excellent. If you decide to try the whole, fried, sweet and sour fish, you can order it before you come to the restaurant so you won't have to wait as long for your order. They're cool like dat.
Price: 1 order of arrolladitos, 1 whole fried fish, 1 bowl of white rice, and 2 hot green teas came up to 74 pesos. Decent price for a very good meal.
Overall: Super duper! I'm coming back for more.