Max’s of Manila’s Spot-on Starters
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For a city with such a large Filipino community, finding an authentic Filipino restaurant can be a challenge. So into the void came Max’s of Manila to fill the need for pancit, dinuguan or nilagang baka. But since those items find life during the main course sections of the meal, I’ll leave those tantalizing descriptions to others and focus on the kick starters.
One of the benefits of Max’s pupu menu is the price, you can fill up without having the feeling of getting held up. A good example is Max’s Teasers platter ($7.95) with Lumpiang Shanghai (which can be ordered as an individual item for $7.25), calamari and crispy tentacles.
Served with a side of sweet and sour sauce, and a garlic vinegar dip, this crowd favorite is a good way to begin your culinary journey through Central Philippines. Lumpiang Shanghai comes in handy bite-sized portions, or two bites if you’re a dainty eater like yours truly, that help the traditional wrap to maintain its crunchy exterior.
Max’s chicken has been a favorite since the first restaurant opened in Quezon City in 1945, and the texture has been carried over to the pupu menu with Chicken Chicharon ($5.95). The bits of fried chicken skin are addicting. Seasoned just right and lightly submerged into a vinegar garlic dip, it’s quick to disappear among hungry guests getting ready to prime the pump for the main courses.
If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, Tokwa Con Lechon ($9.95) is a tasty alternative. Made with chunks of Lechon Kawali, fried tofu, onion, bell peppers and tossed with a soy vinaigrette, the plate is a meal mislabeled as an appetizer. The crispy tofu mixes well with the fatty pan-roasted pork and the vinaigrette adds a sharp third flavor profile.
While it’s the flavors that are most likely responsible for the restaurant’s Best of the Best and Ilimna awards, it is the service that is really special. The employees are fast, courteous and dish out enough smiles to make dessert unnecessary. Who are we kidding? Dessert is always necessary. Max’s has six to choose from.
Max’s of Manila
- 801 Dillingham Boulevard
- Honolulu, HI 96817
- 94-300 Farrington Highway Suite F-1
- Waipahu, HI 96797
- (808) 951-6297
- Open daily
- 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.