The Lost Asian’s Hidden Kitchen

Posted on November 3, 2012 by Vivi in CLOSED DOOR, EXPAT, RESTAURANTS

Frances Ren Expat Entrepreneur Buenos Aires

Frances Ren has been a foodie since birth.  Growing up in Bangkok she was naturally drawn to the kitchen, and as an adolescent living in San Francisco she dreamt of going to culinary school.  Instead, she studied Chinese medicine; a path that lead her to Bejing, where she met her husband.  The two embarked on an adventure to Buenos Aires, where they have resided for over two years.   Self taught chef, Frances comes from a family with a love for cooking together.  She is constantly cooking, reading, eating and obsessing about food.

In Buenos Aires, Frances dove into the scene of entrepreneurs and chefs.  Inspired by the scene and encouraged by Duff, who she fondly refers to as her ‘better half’, she took the plunge and decided to try her hand in the food industry.  So began The Hidden Kitchen, a new closed door restaurant in Palermo, featuring home/street style Taiwanese food.

The Hidden Kitchen debuts homemade food as a basis for gatherings of family and friends, to talk, eat, enjoy and have fun, and serves food that Francis believes in and enjoys, that reflects the way she lives.  The menu is healthy, hearty and homemade.  Diners will enjoy a much needed kick of spice and variety with a Taiwanese street-food inspired menu.

You might know Frances through her beautiful blog, The Lost Asian: a blog that covers travel, recipes and recommendations for the best restaurants in Buenos Aires.  The Lost Asian features gorgeous food photography, and Frances is known for her knack for finding the best dishes that Buenos Aires has to offer, like the matambrito at Lo de Paka, or Aramburu’s beautiful twelve courses.

I was so inspired by Frances’ expat entrepreneur story, so I asked her to share a bit of advice for any other would-be expat entrepreneurs.  I loved her beautiful answer:

My advise is to be honest, sincere, humble, and have healthy friends to bounce ideas from. Do the math, look at your bucket lists in life, and follow your dreams. For me, I look upon obstacles as opportunities to refine and define one’s goals and dreams, and advantages as moments of gratefulness.

And MY advice is to try out The Hidden Kitchen STAT!  This is what you have to look forward to:

The Lost Asian Hidden Kitchen Buenos Aires Closed Door Restaurant

Hot, crispy pancakes with spicy sauces.

The Lost Asian Hidden Kitchen Buenos Aires Closed Door Restaurant Palermo

Super delicious vegetarian spring rolls – the perfect appetizer.

The Lost Asian Hidden Kitchen Buenos Aires Closed Door Restaurant Frances Asian Food

Tender, melty pork belly with braised daikon.  (My date might have ordered this, and I might have eaten all of it … sorry.  The spicy tofu with peanuts that I ordered was ALSO delicious.)

The Lost Asian Hidden Kitchen Buenos Aires Closed Door Restaurant Frances Ren

Also serving up organic (!!!) BBQ chicken with a sweet glaze.

The Lost Asian Hidden Kitchen Buenos Aires Closed Door Asian Food

And a dessert that looks deceitfully modest but was a major WOWZA – a flourless chocolate cake with lime ice cream and a crunchy almond cookie.

Photo credit goes to Frances.  Food photographers note, the Hidden Kitchen’s dimly lit ambience makes for a nice meal, but a challenging photo shoot.  


  1. You did a nice job with the pictures despite the challenging lighting!

    Random question: Is the “organic trend” that’s working its way around the U.S. as big in Argentina? Is it difficult finding organic foods?

  2. This food looks absolutely incredible. Salivating in Seattle…

  3. I swear just looking at these remarkable photos I’m thinking to forget my long diet that my husband was expecting… LOL!!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hello! After reading your blog, I am truly inseirpd. I am a student at the University of California, Irvine and I am currently planning a 3 month trip to Buenos Aires for June of this year. I was hoping to chronical my journey and possibility publish the details of my experience as an African-American, vegetarian and politically left-leaning woman in a nation that is historically not quite any of those things. I just wanted to learn more of your background information, and how you found yourself blogging about life in Argentina. What are some of the things I can do to have a successful travel blog, and maybe get my blog featured on major news sites, etc..? I would really appreciate any advice you can give, as well as any contacts you would be able to provide. Thanks so much! Asia


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