I’m an Expat, and I’m the “…” Guy

San Telmo, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaWith more and more people traveling and itching to taste life in faraway countries, expat communities all over the world are growing rapidly. And with it, a booming industry of entrepreneurs making their livelihood off finding a niche, something missing that out-of-towners crave. My very first night in Buenos Aires, my friends Cathy and Ayngelina told me about all of the small businesses owned by expats there, people who became known as the “this” guy or the “that” guy. Personally, I thought that the woman who started making tortillas was pretty genius… But on my last day in Argentina, I had the pleasure of meeting the “salsa king,” or at least that’s what certain expats call him. When my travel buddy Kirsten came back from the San Telmo fair with word she’d met the guy who made hot sauce, I of course set out to go meet him. “Him” turned out to be “them,” Mark and Kevin, Ya Ya Bean, two friends from Washington, D.C. who had decided they missed spicy foods. I tried their salsa, and I have to say that I’d be proud to take it home to Albuquerque, where people can be quite snobby about their salsa. The business partners started La Boca Roja after traveling to Patagonia to live and work on an organic farm. Next time you’re strolling through San Telmo on a Sunday, stop by and say hello. (They also deliver locally.) They couldn’t be friendlier!

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. Interesting story! I didn’t knew that there is a demand for spicy salsa in South America. I always thought food down there is already pretty chili.

  2. Oooh, salsa is a GOOD idea. Right now in Santiago there seems to be a mini bagel craze which has got the expat world all excited. Before that it was cupcakes. I should think of what might be next and start it up myself!

  3. Seba — I was surprised, too. They don’t really like spice, except for their beloved chimicurri!

    Emily — you should think of something! For me in Costa Rica, my life was changed when hair stylist from San Diego brought down hair dye. I could again have my highlights ha.

  4. I love the thought of moving to a different country and becoming part of the local community in such a way. I’m sure you get a much more fulfilled experience when contributing like that. Fantastic story!

  5. Totally, Shaun! I was the most jealous of their extended trip to a farm in Patagonia. How cool is that?!

  6. This is so true! I need to to figure out my fill-in-the-blank if I want to stay in Buenos Aires. All the good ones are taken!

  7. Ahhh we have to find you something!! Can you bake pretzels? I got so sick of potato chips haha. Franchise Whole Foods?! Kidding… Think big! 😉

  8. How about tango lessons? I bet there’s not enough of those there 😛

    p.s. why wont my gravatar work? *sad face*

  9. Cupcakes totally need to take over the world.

  10. Cupcakes!! Such a good idea for a sweets-obsessed country!

    Oh, Shaun… The tourists would probably enjoy more tango lessons 😉

  11. In Shanghai too expats are going out of their way to offer something from their country, and I have to say, so far the foreign restaurants I’ve been to truly live up to the expectation.

  12. I hear so much about the Ya Ya guys and I have never met them!

  13. Ayngelina — go meet them. They’re soo sweet!

    Angela — I was in Shanghai so many years ago now and was impressed by the vibrant expat scene then, although I was told it was fairly new and just getting going. I can’t imagine it now!

  14. I love it! There are always things that I miss when traveling, but I never thought to bottle it and sell it. Great idea. Thanks for sharing this story, Abby.

  15. I tried their sauce, it was awesome, definitely livened up those empanadas! Love the weekly slide show they do too!

  16. Those guys were so sweet and so enthusiastic. I loved meeting them after hearing so much about them!!!

  17. Yum. And, yay for hometown peeps making good far from home!! Go DC!! 😉

  18. How cool! I wonder why DC publications haven’t yet covered the team behind YaYa Bean!

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