Here’s a change in tonight’s speakeasy scenery: Taco Vengo in Kapitolyo serves up Mexican street food like you didn’t know it before.
Yes, we mean that. Because as soon as you take a bite of any of their offerings, you’ll notice that it doesn’t taste quite Mexican—and it’s not Filipino, either.
It’s not that the restaurant isn’t focused. In fact, it’s too bent on staying in one direction. “Our goal when we put up the taqueria was to make really good tacos,” Abbie Manotoc, half of the husband-and-wife team behind Taco Vengo, explains.
And that it does: It zeroes in on the most basic of Mexican street food. They’ve got tacos, burritos, nachos, and some churros, too. The taqueria feels like a speakeasy. Drop by at night and take in the warm lighting and jazz music, or unleash your inner Frida Kahlo in the middle of an Asian, cosmopolitan city, all while munching on this adventurous grub.
The entire menu is built around redefining the way we experience and expect Mexican cuisine. Case in point: The pork taco tasted and felt just like sisig on the tongue. The shrimp taco was a carb-heavy version of a tempura. And the chwaffle (a churro waffle) was a call back to that famous grandma’s long, edible sticks.
“We took a big gamble,” says Abbie. “We didn’t try to make it Fil-Mex. We feel that the taste sophistication of a lot of people is changing. People are waiting for something else, looking for something else. We actually tried not to tailor it to local tastes and preferences.”
Whatever it is that they did, this neighborhood taqueria is doing one simple task, at least: Filling us up with no-fuss fare. That’s good enough as it is.
Taco Vengo is located at 16 United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. Open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays; and 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Contact (0917)-3278989 or visit their website for more information.
Source: Romeo Moran for Northern Living, “Tacos Without Borders,” October 2015.
Photo by Sam Lim