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Pupu Picks
Pupu Picks

Filipino Favorites to the Max

By Steve Murray Photos By Nathalie Walker
February 24, 2013

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The first thing one notices upon entering Max’s of Manila is the customers. They seem to be in a rush to get a table. This is not because service is slow, it’s exceptional. Parking is plentiful and a few drops of mist isn’t going to alter anyone’s pace in a place celebrated for its slow pace of life.

No. People rush into Max’s because they love what’s on the menu. It’s good old comfort food in a community where people love the simple recipes of youth. Simple, plentiful and tasty are the hallmarks of popular local dining, and it’s what Max’s does well.

Maximum sized dishes are not reserved for the main course. The appetizers are large enough to feed a crowd and cheap enough for solo dining.

Lumpiang Shanghai ($7.95) features bite-sized portions of egg rolls containing ground pork, Chinese celery and seasonings combined to create a simple, enjoyable snack that, combined with the sweet-and-sour sauce, is a crunchy, tangy and sweet way to begin your meal.

Calamari ($7.95) is like everything on the menu, big in portion and individual bites. The large rings of squid are fried golden brown and served with a traditional vinegar dipping sauce that really sets the dish apart from the typical cocktail sauce accompaniment that most places serve.

If seafood isn’t your thing, yet you still need something before the main course arrives Tokwa Con Lechon ($9.95) may be an option. Made from hunks of pork belly, fried tofu, onion and bell peppers, and tossed with a soy vinaigrette, the plate is a a light, crispy alternative to the previously mentioned appetizers.

Thirsty? No problem. Max’s offers a line of San Miguel beer to quench your thirst.

Satisfied and happy, I left Max’s with one recurring thought: I’ve got to go back for the chicken. Almost 70 years of happy diners can’t be wrong.

Max’s of Manila

801 Dillingham Blvd. (also located in Waipahu Shopping Plaza)
951-6297
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.