El Chupacabra: Makati's Little Mexico

Satiating late-night cravings can sometimes be a daunting task. A sudden thirst for beer, an unexpected need for a cheap but delicious meal -- yes, those rumblings of the stomach that beleaguer you, of all time of day, at midnight. Sure, these can be easily pacified by a quick trip to 7 Eleven, but who wants canned San Mig and Hotta Rice? These pangs of hunger require something better, something special -- not a measly snack at a convenience store.

Fortunately for us beer-guzzling, meat-loving people, there’s El Chupacabra.

Worry not, for there are no goat suckers here, and certainly no porn movies either. El Chupacabra is a Mexican taco bar along Felipe Street in Makati—hidden away in what we call Makati’s red-light district, a watering hole that became popular by word-of-mouth. The street is a jumble of bars, eateries and sari-sari stores, looking like a scene in Malate. Admittedly, finding the restaurant can be seriously challenging (I got lost twice and after a few blisters, decided to call it quits) but once you do, you won’t regret the trouble.

From Mexican favorites like enchiladas, tacos, and quesadillas to late-night “drunk food” meant to cure hangovers, El Chupacabra has something to comfort you and your raucous tummy. The food here is straightforward, no need for frills or embellishments—it’s honest-to-goodness kick-ass Mexican fare. And at prices that won’t break the bank, it would be hard to find another place that could compare.

Servers so eager to have their photos taken. LOL!It may take some time for your orders to arrive, but trust me, it’s worth it.
You cannot visit without trying the tacos: what El Chupacabra is famous—and made—for. Order the Carne Asada: bite-sized steak cuts loaded with onions, green pepper, and chopped cilantro. Squeeze some calamansi, roll it up, and be prepared to get messy!

Carne Asada, P90

Another good choice is the Pollo Asado, a soft taco made of yummy chunks of grilled chicken. Flavor-wise, it’s subtler than Carne Asada. Eat in alone or with some salsa—either way, it’s incredible.

Pollo Asado, P90
El Chupacabra’s Quesadillas is a delightful mix of warm, gooey melted cheese and fresh chopped vegetables inside chewy tortillas. The special sauce gives an added creaminess, whereas the spicy salsa lends a much-welcome kick to the dish.

Quesadillas (Gringas), P160
If you want something more filling, order the Enchiladas: rolled-up tortillas filled with smoky chicken, cheese, and what tasted like beans. I was sweet, salty, and a bit sour—filling and bitin at the same time. Each bite is an awesome medley of flavors!

Of course, alcohol could not be missing in action. Beer is ridiculously cheap at El Chupacabra (PhP45 for local beers), and they also serve rum, margarita, and tequila. However, I would suggest going for beer, then splurging on food.

But perhaps, beyond the superb food and cheap alcohol themselves, what turns customers into patrons is El Chupacabra’s no-fuss ambience. There’s the brightly-colored walls, a vibrant red-orange, almost like a horror movie set. Outside, plastic tables and chairs spill onto the sidewalk and onto the street, but consider yourself lucky if you see empty ones. Each table laden with bottles of beer, and surrounded by all kinds of people: yuppies de-stressing after their shifts, nearby residents, Cubao Expo types, foreigners, impeccably-dressed partygoers who just came out of the bar. Everyone is welcome here.

For a taste of street-style Mexican cuisine, head over to El Chupacabra in Makati. If you’re coming in a big group and you want to secure a table, you might want to arrive a little BEFORE dinnertime (yes, you read that right). Otherwise, be prepared to queue up and wait to be seated. The place is especially packed on Fridays and Saturdays, so plan accordingly.

The thought of going out for a drink, some awesome cheap food, and a relaxed time without having to dress up and act pretentious—it’s something you can only associate with El Chupacabra.

El Chupacabra
5782 Felipe Street, Bel-Air, Makati City
(02) 895-1919
Email: elchupacabraph@gmail.com
Facebook: El Chupacabra PH
Instagram: @elchupacabraph
Budget: around PhP200-300/head for food only

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