Hong Kong is old stomping grounds for Mexico's acting consul general

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 March, 2010, 12:00am

The acting Mexican consul general is clearly eager to prove he can do the job full time. Andres Pena (with SML's marketing director Denise Leicester) arrived from Shanghai only recently to fill the vacated position, but he was doing his best to promote his country at Times Square's SML on Wednesday night at a media tasting of the restaurant's new Mexican menu. To be honest, the food wasn't particularly authentic or impressive - sorry, nachos and fajitas are Tex-Mex - but that didn't stop Pena from highlighting the opportunities for greater Sino-Mexico relations.

'There's so much I want to tell about my country,' he started. 'This is our bi-centennial [200th] year of independence. Did you know we produce the best abalone in the world? We're also the only Central American country with direct flights to China. The tourism industry is one area I really want to promote. There's still a lot that people here don't know about Mexico and vice versa. My job is to tell each side about the other.'

There probably isn't another Latin American diplomat more knowledgeable about Asia than the youthful looking Pena, who's 44 but looks 24. 'I try to work out, do yoga and I am a vegetarian,' he explained. 'I am very familiar with Hong Kong. I lived here twice before. My father worked for a shipping company here when I was young and when I started my career I was posted here from 1991 to 1993.'

Pena also demonstrated his 'mi casa su casa' hospitality to CitySeen. 'You should come to my house for dinner for the best Mexican food.' So, his wife makes very traditional dishes? 'Actually, my wife is Japanese.'