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“best Chinese in Buenos Aires”
Review of Lai Lai

Lai Lai
Ranked #3,775 of 5,179 Restaurants in Buenos Aires
Price range: US$6 - US$10
Cuisines: Chinese
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Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Delivery, Reservations
Neighbourhood: Belgrano
Reviewed 19 July 2014

Most Chinese restaurants in Buenos Aires’ minute china-town are pretty poor: they tend to serve sweet & sour standard fare that is not very appealing. I have tried some of the restaurants and the only one I recommend (so far) is Lai Lai. It is a still far away from what you can get in the US or Asia but if you are looking for Chinese cooking in Buenos Aires this place will have to do. Prices are above the other restaurants but it is still quite affordable. Service is good, sometimes a bit slow. The menu has some very interesting choices. Everything is prepared fresh and served nicely.

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Thank saltacity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (145)
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11 - 15 of 145 reviews

Reviewed 4 July 2014

I know I'm a tourist and don't understand every nuance in culture quite yet after a week in BA, but I think poor service is pretty universal.

I wanted to try Asia Oriental's counter for lunch but my non-Asian significant other is very very very sensitive to fishy smells so it made him nauseated. I spotted Lai-Lai nearby and remembered reading that it was a decent Chinese option, so I hopped in.

Right off the bat, I noticed that they were charging some US dinner prices here- about $100 pesos (about $10 US) for chicken and beef entrees and a whopping $160 for seafood. A fried rice is about $70 pesos which is pretty steep for lunch. So I'm assuming maybe this is a really "fancy" chinese restaurant judging from the nice decor so I was expecting some pretty amazing food.

My gringo butt did not realize it was "offensive" to bring my own water. Coming from the US where I pretty much just drink my own filtered tap water, I did not want to contribute to four, six bottles of water into the trash stream (not to mention we already were going to places that were charging around $2-4 US for water!!!) so I got myself a big bottle of water to start my day. When I started to fill my own glass, the owner snapped at me in mandarin to not drink my own water here. Was not aware of the water thing, my apologies. My SO proceeds to explain to me when he returned from the bathroom that this is a faux pas in Euro-style countries because water is a luxury. However, I think it should have been apparent that because we were speaking in English the whole time and that we look a lot different from everyone else I am just an ignorant (US) American that the attitude was unnecessary.

Next the waiter comes out just bluntly tells me there's no more dumplings. Ok then? No offer of another appetizer, just turned his heels around and went back into the kitchen. So I can't drink my own water, there's no dumplings, what next?

When the food arrives, our fried rice was bland and anemic (looks like a trend in Buenos Aires to be honest) and kung pao had no spice despite having peppers in it. Not to mention, the portion was measly (about a pint) which was ironic seeing that everything else we've been ordering in Buenos Aires was TOO BIG.

Not to mention, the bathrooms were pretty darn crusty and my SO commented on his way back he almost slipped because it was so sticky. I myself was pretty grossed out by the toilet and apprehensive about touching the button (caked with brown stuff all around the water tank) and I've been to plenty of roadside, gas station bathrooms in my life.

If attitude was the only thing wrong with my experience here, I would have shrugged it off. My local Taiwanese restaurant back home also has an attitude problem and I can deal with an attitude problem, but mediocre food with bad service is no bueno.

SO long story short:
If you're desperate for options in a country that does not have many decent Asian options, this would "do" because it's not intolerable but it's mediocre at best. I could imagine a homesick ex-pat wanting to eat here. If you're only visiting feel free to skip this one or Asian food in this city in general (you have to pay for white rice AND the food sucks, omg. For the price of rice in BA you can get a full kickass meal in Asia, I kid you not. )

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Thank Rirrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2014

Today is our anniversary...we are planning a wedding. Tonight we went out for our anniversary dinner at this Lai Lai restaurant (recommended) food was ok...waiter was nasty - (he talked about being up until 4 am so he was sleep deprived!!)...we finished eating and were waiting for our check when I saw roaches crawling up a column which was next to our table...my fiancé paid and I tried to get rid of the roaches as I distracted him...he would have been very angry...I came home totally grossed out!!

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1  Thank almadetango
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2014

After spending a few weeks in Buenos Aires you can quickly become tired of parrilla after parrilla. Fortunately located in Chinatown there's a lovely little place called Lai Lai. We started off with the dumplings, which had the best accompanying soy sauce-based sauce I've had with dumplings - a great start. This was followed by the "pollo tres sabores" and mixed fried rice for entrees. The chicken dish was one of the better chinese dishes I've had, tons of flavor with a nice balance. The fried rice was tasty, but it lacked overall compared to the other things. I have had better chinese in other countries, but for a place swarmed with beef, pasta, and pizza, this place is an oasis in the desert. I highly recommend it! In fact, I went 3 times in 3 weeks.

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Thank Jeremy H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2013

We had a very good lunch. We were on a budget so we chose the 'fixed menu', which had the usual three choices of entries and mains. Beverages were included too.
The food felt authentic to me, though I'm no expert. Also, there were a handful of Chinese people eating there (which I think is a good sign). We even spotted a well-know Argentinian chef having lunch there too.
Though there was a misunderstanding with one of our orders and the waiter was not very eager to change it at first, he finally did bring us the right plate and ended being very nice and friendly.
The food was very tasty and very fresh. I would surely return.

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Thank Marianela_56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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