Max’s Packs Up the Perfect Summer Picnic
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As of last week, it’s officially summertime, and Max’s of Manila has you all set for the season. If you’re short on summer travel funds, Max’s allows you to take a food tour of the Philippines — and you won’t even have to leave the island. Located in Waipahu and Dillingham, the restaurant offers authentic, homestyle cuisine that will transport diners to a classic Filipino kitchen.
“We bring (customers) the traditional, homestyle Filipino food that they grew up with and miss,” says Max’s Dillingham operations manager Elizabeth Joven. “That’s the key, and I think that’s why people keep coming back.”
In honor of summer, Max’s recently re-launched its popular Picnic Package ($26.99) option, which features a whole Max’s Fried Chicken ($13.50 for an individual order), Pancit Canton ($8.50 for an individual order) and Lumpiang Shanghai ($7.25 for an individual order).
Not only is the Picnic Package an incredible deal, but it also highlights some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. The chicken, for instance, is one of the all-time customer favorites and has been one of the restaurant’s staples since it opened in the Philippines in 1945.
“It’s really just fresh chicken that has been seasoned and fried,” Joven says, adding that it is made from a secret recipe.
Pancit Canton also is a customer favorite. “We use a fresh egg noodle,” Joven says of the dish. It also comes with pork, shrimp and chicken. “The guest has the option if they won’t want to eat meat, they can substitute it for tofu, or all shrimp, or all vegetables.”
Lumpiang Shanghai is Max’s take on a spring roll. “We make it from scratch,” Joven says. “The sweet and sour sauce is homemade, too. We cook our own sauces.”
Complete with to-go boxes and a reusable bag, the Picnic Package is designed to be enjoyed outdoors. All customers have to do is call in their order and pick it up — and they’ll have a perfectly pre-made picnic.
Another treat that is perfect for the season is Halo-Halo ($5.70), which is a delightful dessert with ube ice cream that comes with coconut, jackfruit, beans gelatin, flan and yam. “It’s the most popular among all of the desserts,” Joven says.
While customers are busy enjoying their tasty summer treats, the chefs at Max’s of Manila are busy in the kitchen concocting even more new dishes. Currently, the Waipahu location offers breakfast on Sundays, and the Dillingham location also is hoping to start offering breakfast soon. Joven estimates that the breakfast menu could be ready by early fall. She explains that it would be a popular homestyle Filipino breakfast that consists of beef, fried rice and eggs.
On the Side
Max’s of Manila first began as a small cafe in Manila in 1945. Although it had just a few menu items, it quickly became a hot spot for American troops living in the city. When the cafe created its original fried chicken recipe, its popularity soon spread. Today, there are Max’s restaurants throughout the Philippines and in California. Locally, the Waipahu location opened in 2006, followed by the Dillingham restaurant two years ago.
Although that little cafe has evolved into a franchised enterprise, it has not strayed far from its homestyle fare.
“With all of the convenience goods available in the market, we still make it a point to start from scratch,” says Max’s Dillingham operations manager Elizabeth Joven, who first started working at Max’s corporate office in the Philippines. “Like with our lumpia, we start ours from scratch.
“That is the trademark that Max’s has been known for. It’s not just about the business, part of it also is taking care of the priorities.” Those priorities, she says, are serving homemade Filipino favorites.
“Pretty much everything is the same as in Manila,” Joven says. “Everything is modeled after the Manila restaurant. We try to keep the menu as much the same here as it can be.”
Max’s of Manila
- 801 Dillingham Boulevard
- Honolulu, HI 96817
- 94-300 Farrington Highway Suite F-1
- Waipahu, HI 96797
- (808) 951-6297
- Monday – Friday
- 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Saturday – Sunday
- 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Monday – Thursday
- 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Friday – Saturday
- 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.