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Packed To The ‘Max’

Cover Story

May 12, 2019

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Pork Barbecue Skewers ($73.50 25 sticks, $143.95 50 sticks); Max’s Fried Chicken ($59.50 half pan, $115 full pan); Lumpiang Shanghai ($65.95 96 pieces, $128.50 192 pieces); Pancit Bihon ($47.50 half pan, $93.50 full pan)

Graduation season is upon us! Time for “Pomp and Circumstance,” kids clad in caps and gowns and draped with lei, and graduation parties to celebrate!

No party is complete without a feast, and when that feast includes authentic Filipino food from Max’s of Manila, it makes the celebration twice as delicious and a lot more festive.

“All our menu items are available in cater trays,” says Maly San Luis, general manager of the Filipino restaurant franchise on Oahu. “They’re particularly popular during graduation season.” Max’s half-pan cater trays serve 15-20 guests, and full pans serve 30-40, she explains. “For cater tray take-out, we need one hour advance notice, and longer for large orders. Reservations and advance orders are now being accepted!”

In the coming weeks, Max’s two Oahu locations will provide countless cater trays for parties all over the island. Many of those trays will contain Lumpiang Shanghai, Max’s all-time most popular appetizer, a scrumptious mix of ground pork and vegetables rolled into pastry wrappers and then deep-fried. They’re served with a house-made sweet and sour sauce. Half-pans of these savory treats contain 96 pieces and sell for $65.95; full pans contain 192 pieces and sell for $128.50.

Pancit Bihon is a beloved traditional dish in which thin rice noodles are sauteed with pork, shrimp, chicken, and mixed vegetables. For cater trays, half-pans are available for $47.50; full pans for $93.50. The dish is also available with egg noodles.

As a mouthwatering pupu, Pork Barbecue Skewers simply can’t be topped. Half-pans containing 25 sticks are available for $73.50; full pans (50 sticks) for $143.95. Pork slices are marinated in sweet, mildly spicy soy sauce, skewered on bamboo sticks and grilled to perfection.

“Our cater trays are available for on-premise parties as well as for take-out,” says San Luis. Max’s Dillingham location can host parties of as many as 150 people, and the Waipahu restaurant can accommodate up to 180, she adds. “For on-premise parties for groups of 40 or more, we can set up the cater trays in a buffet-style service.”

A party featuring Max’s cuisine wouldn’t be complete without Max’s famous Fried Chicken. Half-pans with four whole chickens chopped into 24 pieces are $59.50; full pans with eight birds chopped into 48 pieces are $115. And you can celebrate your graduate with Banana Lumpia for dessert. Known as Turon in the Philippines, this irresistible treat features banana and a bit of jackfruit rolled into pastry wrappers and are deep-fried. Half-pans with 40 pieces are available for $43.75, and full pans with 80 pieces for $85.95.

Banana Lumpia ($43.75 40 pieces, $85.95 80 pieces) Say “congrats” to your grad with these finger-lickin’-good treats. Besides banana, these tidbits feature pieces of jackfruit tucked into pastry wrappers and are deep-fried.

For many islanders, Max’s has provided their first delectable experience of authentic traditional food from the Philippines. “The items we’re featuring this week — Pancit Bihon, Lumpiang Shanghai, and the others — are great for big groups that include first-timers eating Filipino food,” says San Luis, who adds that a cater tray of chicken adobo would also be a terrific addition to the party menu.

Satisfying specials

With more than 200 branches all over the world – including two on Oahu and one on Maui – Max’s of Manila has a menu packed with traditional favorites like pancit, kare-kare, crispy pata, lechon kawali, pinakbet, chicken and pork adobo, sizzling sisig platters, and much more. “However, each location has its own specials,” notes general manager Maly San Luis. “And in Hawaii, we have an abundance of Filipino vegetables that aren’t available on the Mainland or in Canada.”

Delish fish

Now in its 74th year, Max’s of Manila features the Tagalog style of cuisine, which originated in Manila, the central region of the Philippines. Varying greatly from province to province, Tagalog cuisine prominently features extraordinary fish dishes from Batangas, where Lake Taal is home to 75 species of freshwater fish – and enough panghimagas (desserts) to satisfy any sweet tooth!

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