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vatos urban tacos

Their signature: Kimchi carnita fries

3 boys. 2 months. 1 dream.

By now I think most folks around Seoul have been to Vatos, or have marked their calenders to drop a visit. Vatos isn't really just your local taco spot.  It's your second home.  It's the place you go to when you just crave a few tacos and a negro modelo after a long day...this is where I come.  

So what's their story?

The dream: It started off with Kenny Park, originally from Los Angeles who moved to Seoul 2 1/2 years ago. His passion for good food was the seed that planted Vatos.  The boys: Kenny later met partners Juweon (Jonathan) Kim and Sid Kim through a kickstarter project he started back in March.
It took two months of love and labor: After several name changes, tweeks on the concept, and multiple tastings inside their home kitchen, Vatos opened its doors early November of this year.

If you're from the states like me, a few things that you will really miss is good Mexican food.  Prior to Vatos, I have been disappointed countless of times scoping out different Mexican restaurants around Seoul.  Now having Vatos on the Seoul food map, it just comes to show that Seoul is getting it...slowly. 


Warming it up on their tortilla machine. Yup, they make their own tortilla's!


The early days...I can't believe Juweon made me climb all the way to the top, on the unstable ladder to the left!


Known for their Kimchi carnitas fries-which is basically seasoned fries covered with braised carnitas, sauteed kimchi, melted cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro and red onions, topped with their special hot sauce. Yeah, you think you it stops there...but no. It actually gets better.  One of my favorites is the chicken quesdillas, in which the chicken is made with a spicy Korean marinade a.k.a 'buldak'.  It seriously hits the spot. It's down right addictive to say the least...


'Rusting' brand new stools, goes well with their 'earthy, edgy, raw' interior concept.



 Ok yeah, I somehow made it to the top and took these photos.  It was great, until I had to get back down...

Did you know that 'Vato's' means 'homeboy'?  A Mexican slang often used where close friends refer to each other.  However, it can be misused to offend people as well.  Let's just stick to the 'homeboy' concept.


Working hard Kenny!

The classic carne asada: spiced rubbed & grilled with chopped onions, cilantro, topped with vatos hot sauce.

Good friends Barbara and Eunice enjoying their afternoon 'drinks'!

Braised carnitas (pork shoulder) tacos to the left; Korean pork belly (Samgyupsal) with ssamjang aioli tacos to the right. Yum!


Why is Juweon hanging out on the rails??? Maybe he had one too many of the 'Dos-a Rita's!'

Jen and Jin-the amazing production team filming Vatos! Kenny seemed uh a bit nervous? haha.

Spicing it up!


Linus and Jen getting some last shots...

To entice you even more, check out this freakin awesome clip by Pudding Pop media:
Vatos Urban Tacos: Who We Are (click on this link for the clip).



Good food, good times with good folks at Keeyeon's birthday!


At Vatos, it's more than just their amazing food.  It's more than just the great service. Their 'hello' doesn't just stop at the door.  It's about the friendship that's developed over time...and the relationship actually starts from your very first visit.  

Kenny, Juweon, & Sid-off to an amazing start, love you guys!!!




Vatos Urban Tacos
Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-dong 181-8, Seoul/서울특별시 용산구 이태원동 181-8 2 층
02.797.8226 (please note this is their new location!)

Subway directions: Itaewon Station (line 6) exit 1.  
Walk for about 10 minutes, when you see Standard Chartered Bank and Home Base supermarket, Vatos will be to the right .

*Reservations highly receommended!

Reader Comments (2)

As a dude that grew up in LA, I know street tacos, one bite it took me back to LA!!! All these spots that claim to be Mexcian food, I feel it's a crime that they call themselves a "Mexican" restaurant!!!

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoon Kang

Great post! I'm a big fan of Vatos myself.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah
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