When it comes to beauty, fashion, and TV dramas, we look to South Korea to let us in on all the latest trends. But aside from “glass skin” and stalk-worthy oppas, the absolute best thing about K-culture that we’re loving right now is their food! Filipinos have never been one to eat spicy things but kimchi is slowly working its way onto our tables.
Speaking of food, a popular restaurant from Seoul has recently found its way to Manila!
Don’t expect the usual Korean dishes like bibimbap and barbecue though because their entrees come with a delicious Mexican twist. We’re talking about drool-worthy creations like Kimchi Carnitas Fries and Spicy Chicken Tacos here!
Definitely check this new restaurant out if you want a taste of the hip dining culture in South Korea.
Satisfy your Korean and Mexican cravings at Vatos Urban Tacos
When a trio of Korean-American guys decided that they would create a standout restaurant concept in Seoul, they thought it would only make sense to combine the Korean and Mexican fares into one solid menu. After all, these were the two cuisines they all grew up eating.
Aptly enough, they called their brainchild Vatos Urban Tacos–exactly the kind of name you’d expect from the minds of three cool chaps (ICYDK, ‘vatos’ is Mexican slang for ‘men’ or ‘dudes’).
Ever since Vatos opened up their first branch in Seoul in 2012, their Kor-Mex dishes have captured the taste buds of many, including celebrity chefs. Fast forward to today, they have two more branches in Seoul, another in Singapore, and a brand new one in Manila.
Vatos is one of the newest additions to BGC’s selection of restaurants, so if you’re in the area and you’re looking for somewhere to eat, you know where to go!
Drawing inspiration from their flagship store in Seoul, their branch in BGC has the same industrial, effortlessly-cool vibe. It’s definitely the kind of place you’d want to hole up in on a Friday night to blow off some steam. As for their menu, it’s going to take quite a bit of self-control to keep yourself from ordering everything on it!
To get things going, order up the Vatos Cowboy Queso as appetizer for your table.
This will give you a basket of fresh, hand-cut tortilla chips plus a pot of molten queso (a rich blend of pepper jack, cheddar, black beans, pico de gallo, and cilantro lime crema).
In her looloo review, Angela Marie C. had nothing but praise for this deconstructed nacho dish, saying: “This ooey gooey bowl of cheesy goodness is definitely up there for me for best cheese dips I have had in my life! It was so flavorful, and not at all cloying. Plus, the chips were amazing, wonderfully crispy, seasoned well and doesn’t break too fast with the hot molten cheese.”
Another appetizer you won’t regret making room on your table for is their famous Kimchi Carnitas Fries.
This is some next-level stuff because not only are the fries addictingly crispy and well-seasoned, they’re also generously topped off with braised pork carnitas, kimchi, melted cheese, sour cream, Vatos hot sauce, cilantro, and onion.
If you think that’s a mouthful, it definitely is! Here’s what Mary Love S. had to say about it in her looloo review: “Despite having several ingredients fighting for your taste buds’ attention, each one was well-defined yet blended harmoniously resulting in a smacktacular piece. And what I loved most about this was that the fries remained crisp despite the heavy toppings!”
As for mains, their soft tacos are not to be missed. The Korean Pork Belly Taco, juicy pork flavored with ssamjang aioli and bundled up in a corn tortilla, is the epitome of the perfect Kor-Mex ensemble.
Reich T. was all about it, saying this in her looloo review: “Who would’ve thought that a taco can taste this good! The pork is tender and has that semi sweet profile that works well with the aioli and the onions. It is a symphony of flavors in my mouth.”
The Spicy Chicken Taco, made with spicy marinated chicken, pico de gallo, sour cream, Mexican cheese, and Vatos hot sauce, is another thing you need to sink your teeth into.
Russel F. gave his approval for this dish, saying in his looloo review that he liked the tenderness of the meat and that all the other ingredients complemented it well.
If you’re more into seafood than meat though, you should definitely put the Chili Lime Shrimp Taco on your to-order list.
The combination of shrimp, asian slaw, pico de gallo, cilantro, chopped onion, and lime cilantro sour cream makes for quite a refreshing flavor profile! In his looloo review, Eboy D. described the shrimps as soft, delicate, and just utterly perfect.
No matter how much you’ve already eaten, you have to make belly room for another must-try dish at Vatos–the Honey Tequila Chicken Wings!
Anna D. called it the star of the night, saying this in her looloo review: “This was amazing. I’ve probably been to every chicken wing joint there is in the metro and this is the first time I’ve ever encountered such flavors. Not overwhelmingly sweet and spicy and will probably convert non-wing lovers.”
To end things on a sweet note, the Nutella Nachos is just the treat for you.
An order of this will give you a bunch of crispy tortilla triangles showered with cinnamon and sugar and then topped off with Nutella and vanilla ice cream. A dessert you’ll find only at Vatos!
Aside from indulging your senses in Korean and Mexican flavors, you can also include a bit of a walwalan portion into your meal.
Sip on creative alcoholic concoctions like Sexy Sanchez (strawberry margarita and Magners Berry Cider), Grow a Pear (passion fruit margarita and Magners Pear Cider), and Makgeolitas (tequila and makgeolli).
With that, it’s time to round up the gang and get eating and drinking at Vatos Urban Tacos! Be sure to tell us about your experience on the looloo app!