Feast on Max-ificent Filipino Flavors

Digest Foodie Fare

September 10, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

The popularity of Max’s Fried Chicken at Max’s of Manila is hard to deny. In fact, the restaurant — once a tiny cafe in the Philippines that today has exploded into an international franchise with locations in California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Canada and Dubai — is affectionately known as “The House that Fried Chicken Built.”

  • All-You-Can-Eat Chicken deal ($9.99)
  • Chef Gerry Aquino, manager Kate Del Callar and chef Jaymar Guzman can't get enough of the fried chicken included in the KO-To-Go Pack ($15.99).
  • Ensaladang Kangkong ($6.50)
  • Miki Bihon Pancit ($8.95)
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In honor of the secret recipe that started it all, this month both Max’s of Manila Hawaii locations in Waipahu and Dillingham are offering an All-You-Can-Eat Chicken deal for just $9.99.

“Max’s of Manila first ran this special in the Philippines last year in June. It became very successful, so they ran it again this year, and I guess through the other branches and through social media, other people heard about it and asked, ‘Why not have it here?’ So we just started running it in North America this year and here in Hawaii this month,” says general manager Maly San Luis.

Available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the special consists of all-you-can-eat portions of Max’s regular recipe chicken cut into fourths, which makes polishing off the juicy-yet-crispy pieces all the easier.

“As they finish we just keep refilling (their plate) until they tell us to stop!” laughs San Luis. “The biggest eater (so far) ate eight quarters — that’s two whole chickens! He also had five scoops of rice — I don’t know where he put it!”

The special comes with one scoop rice (choice of steamed white, brown or garlic fried rice), with unlimited servings available for $1 extra.

Or, San Luis suggests, pair the chicken with a side order of Ensaladang Kangkong ($6.50). Available every day on the regular menu, this refreshing salad is made with steamed ong choi and tomato bits tossed in a sesame soy vinaigrette sauce.

“It’s a nice vegetable side dish, and it’s light,” she says. “Since the chicken is deep-fried, (the Ensaladang Kangkong) is a good one to go with.”

Another Max’s specialty that goes well with the fried chicken is Miki Bihon ($8.95), a blend of egg and rice noodles stir-fried with fresh vegetables, pork, chicken and shrimp, all topped with a sprinkling of green onions.

“Filipino pancit, there’s a variety of them, and normally we have either the egg noodle, which is the Canton ($8.50), or the rice noodle, which is the Bihon ($8.50), but the Miki Bihon is a combination of the two, so you have the egg noodle and the thin rice noodle,” San Luis explains, noting this pancit also can be made vegetarian per request.

“The seasoning and the sauce don’t have meat anyway, so we just leave out all of the chicken, pork and shrimp,” she says.

The All-You-Can-Eat Chicken offer began Sept. 6 and runs till Sept. 30, with the possibility of it becoming a recurring deal Hawaii diners can happily anticipate for years to come.

“That’s what they did in the Philippines,” says San Luis. “So if it’s well-received here, maybe we can do it again for a month next year.”

On the Side

Many have heard of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but did you know that today (Sept. 11) is Grandparent’s Day?

On the first Sunday following Labor Day, families gather to honor the wisdom and heritage grandparents provide, and this year, Max’s of Manila invites Hawaii ohanas to celebrate their tutus, ojisans, bubbes, abuelos — whatever you call ’em — with a meal at its Waipahu and Dillingham locations.

“For our restaurant, it’s a big day because many Asian cultures (live with) the whole extended family,” says Maly San Luis, Max’s of Manila Hawaii general manager. “We just try to recognize the day and provide a way for families to celebrate with a big dinner out with the grandparents.”

For those extra-large clans of 10 or more members, San Luis recommends ordering one of Max’s of Manila’s pre-set menus ($139-$159), which are each good for up to 10 people and include Max’s Fried Chicken, Soup of the Day, Steamed Jasmine Rice, a variety of side orders and house specialties, dessert and beverages.

“To make things different, sometimes people will take (the catering menu) and add on the dishes that they like that may not be on the set menu. So every party, the food is different depending on the host,” San Luis says.

“And, you know, right now it’s tailgating time, so the whole catering menu or one of our takeout specials is great for that,” she adds enthusiastically.

In addition to a catering menu that includes options like Filipino Bisteak ($125 full pan/$64.50 half pan), Fish Fillet in Black Bean Sauce ($114.50/$57.95), Chicken or Pork Adobo ($86.50/$43.90) and Pancit Palabok ($78.95/$39.95), new to the Max’s of Manila lineup this summer is the Max’s KO-To-Go Pack ($15.99).

“It’s more like finger food,” San Luis explains of the meal, which includes six pieces of fried chicken thighs or chicken legs, one order of Lumpiang Shanghai and Crispy Chicken Skin.

“We also have one that we started running in the summer that was doing so well, we kept it,” she adds. Called the Picnic Package ($26.99), this takeout option includes one whole chicken, choice of Pancit and one order of Lumpiang Shanghai packaged in an eco-friendly reusable Max’s of Manila bag.

“It’s an easy, take-home thing,” San Luis notes. “You don’t necessarily need to be going to the beach or anything like that.

“And,” she adds, “since (they’re both) still so popular with people, we’re just extending it.”

Max’s of Manila

  • Where
    • 801 Dillingham Boulevard
    • Honolulu, HI 96817
    • 94-300 Farrington Highway Suite F-1
    • Waipahu, HI 96797
  • Call
    • (808) 951-6297
  • Hours
    • Dillingham
    • Open daily
    • 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Waipahu
    • 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Monday – Thursday
    • 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Fridays and Saturdays
    • 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Sundays
  • Website

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