Max’s of Manila

Digest Step Up to the Plate

August 11, 2013

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel


For a taste of the Philippines here in the Islands, Max’s of Manila is the restaurant of choice for kamaaina and visitors alike. With establishments throughout the world, including more than 100 branches in the Philippines alone, eight in the U.S. and two here at home, Max’s of Manila has definitely made its mark in the realm of international cuisine.

Acclaimed for its famous fried chicken and other authentic Filipino fare, the restaurant is steeped in history and ohana. And according to Elizabeth Joven, operations manager of the Dillingham location, Kare-Kare, a Filipino stew, has been a family favorite for generations.

Max’s Kare-Kare features morsels of beef shank and oxtail that are boiled until tender and seasoned with a special blend of spices, such as peppercorn. The meat just falls off the bones. It’s that good.

Eggplant, string beans and Chinese cabbage are the signature vegetables presented in this classic dish. The nutrients from the vegetables offer a healthy component, making Kare-Kare just as nutritious as it is delicious.

The basis of this Filipino stew is the savory peanut sauce comprised of ground roasted peanuts and ground roasted rice flour (to make the soup thicker). When tender meat is added, the soup becomes gelatinous. Made from scratch, the sauce is super sarap (delicious)!

Kare-Kare is believed to have originated in Pampanga, Philippines, and is a Spanish-inspired dish. No Filipino fiesta is complete without it.

“We prepare 1,400 to 1,600 orders of Kare-Kare a week here at Max’s! It’s a very popular dish,” says Joven.

Diners can also take Kare-Kare to the next level by adding bagoong, or sauteed salted shrimp paste, to the dish. For some, bagoong may be an acquired taste, but once accustomed to it, you’ll be hooked.

Max’s of Manila

801 Dillingham Blvd., Honolulu
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96817

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