Welcome To The ‘House That Fried Chicken Built’

Cover Story Features

October 16, 2016

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Max's Fried Chicken ($7.48 during Chicken Blowout promotion Oct. 18)

Max’s Fried Chicken ($7.48 during Chicken Blowout promotion Oct. 18)

There’s nothing like biting into a golden, crispy piece of fried chicken bursting with juicy, tender meat. If you feel a craving coming on, there’s no better place to get it than Max’s of Manila, especially during its 71st anniversary Chicken Blowout celebration Tuesday, Oct. 18.

As part of the annual promotion, customers may enjoy a whole Max’s Fried Chicken for just $7.48 — that’s 50 percent off the regular price of $14.95 — for dine-in and takeout orders. The establishment’s propriety chicken is worth praising, seeing as it is the international dining chain’s founding recipe, dating back to when Max’s was a small cafe in Quezon City, the Philippines, just after World War II. Back then, Stanford-educated teacher and Max’s founder Maximo Gimenez served mouthwatering chicken perfected by his niece, Ruby, to American troops stationed nearby and the surrounding Filipino community. Before long, the chicken became a beloved best seller — one that is still devoured today.

Pancit Sotanghon ($9.95)

Pancit Sotanghon ($9.95)

Max’s of Manila’s two Hawaii locations — in Waipahu and on Dillingham Boulevard — have honored this tasty legacy with a Chicken Blowout since 2009. According to general manager Maly San Luis, “Every year that we do this, we’re selling over 1,000 chickens per branch, and we’re expecting the same this year.”

First marinated and then deep-fried, Max’s signature fried chicken is unique for its crispy and crackling skin — no batter needed — which locks in an abundance of flavor and juices. The Chicken Blowout has proven to be a great introduction for first-timers to Max’s world of Filipino cuisine, while also remaining popular among regulars, many of whom order chickens by the dozen to share with family, friends and co-workers. Because of the high volume ordered during this special promotion, San Luis welcomes customers to place their orders in advance.

Chicken Tinola Soup, aka Chicken Papaya Soup ($10.50)

Chicken Tinola Soup, aka Chicken Papaya Soup ($10.50)

In addition to its succulent fried chicken, Max’s of Manila offers a traditional taste of home-style Filipino fare — a type of cuisine that has been embraced by kamaaina. Pancit Sotanghon ($9.95, serves two-three), or stir-fried long rice with pork, chicken and vegetables, is a favorite among locals, as is Chicken Tinola Soup ($10.50, serves two-three). The latter is known affectionately in Hawaii as chicken papaya soup, simmering with bone-in chicken, ginger, chili leaves and green papaya.

“For those who are not used to Filipino food, it can be a little intimidating, but once you step into Max’s and see the menu, you’ll find a lot of the menu items are familiar to people in Hawaii,” says San Luis.

Sizzling Bangus and Tofu Steak ($14.75) PHOTO COURTESY OF MAX'S OF MANILA

Sizzling Bangus and Tofu Steak ($14.75) PHOTO COURTESY OF MAX’S OF MANILA

Max’s also introduces localized branch specials, in which “chefs are able to put their creative twist on traditional dishes,” explains San Luis. The latest one is Sizzling Bangus (milkfish) and Tofu Steak ($14.75, serves two-three) topped with crispy garlic and green onion. The dish showcases the national fish of the Philippines sliced and fried alongside tofu, then slathered in slightly creamy gravy accented with citrus flair. “We just launched it last month and it’s doing very, very well,” San Luis adds.

No Filipino meal would be complete without dessert, and classics like Banana Lumpia and Halo Halo are among the best known Filipino creations. Buko Pandan ($4.95) also is worth trying, as it delights with coconut strips, tapioca pearls and pandan leaf (of the screwpine tree)-flavored gelatin mixed into fluffy cream. For added sweetness, macapuno (coconut) ice cream and rice flakes top it off.

Buko Pandan ($4.95)  L. TABUDLO PHOTO

Buko Pandan ($4.95) L. TABUDLO PHOTO

For those looking to host a special occasion, Max’s also accommodates groups of up to 150 guests at its Dillingham branch and 180 in Waipahu. And don’t forget to inquire about catering options.

What’s New at Max’s

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Max’s of Manila is offering a special deal to customers who donate $1 to National Breast Cancer Foundation with their purchase of Max’s Fried Chicken (half or whole; separate from Chicken Blowout promotion) on Saturdays and Sundays during October. Those guests will receive a $5 coupon toward their next meal.

Monica and Michelle San Luis of Max's of Manila showcase the famed Max's Fried Chicken.

Monica and Michelle San Luis of Max’s of Manila showcase the famed Max’s Fried Chicken.

Max’s of Manila also recently launched its online takeout ordering system. Simply visit maxsrestaurantusa.com and click on the “order now” button ($1.25 service fee applies).

Max’s of Manila

801 Dillingham Blvd., Honolulu
Daily, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

94-300 Farrington Hwy., Waipahu
Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Max’s also delivers via Room Service in Paradise. Visit the website to place an order.

Waipahu, HI 96797

Honolulu, HI 96817

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best