Adding some Filipino flair to the holidays

A La Carte Columns

November 20, 2016

Story By: Caitlin Basilio | Photos by: L. TABUDLO

Embutido ($11.95)

Embutido ($11.95)

Hawaii has an amazing food culture because of its diversity. Filipino culture is especially prominent in the state, and Max’s of Manila is the best place to satisfy all of your Filipino cravings.

The restaurant got started more than 70 years ago in founder Maximo Gimenez’s home. Gimenez was a Stanford-educated professor who befriended American troops stationed at Quezon City, Philippines after World War II. It was Gimenez’s niece who created a special recipe for chicken that kept the good company returning to his home, which later led to the opening of a cafe, and then a restaurant. The eatery evolved into the international dining chain Max’s is today, which still offers the famous Fried Chicken.

Max’s of Manila made its way to Hawaii about 10 years ago and is located in both Honolulu and Waipahu. Just in time for the holidays, enjoy Embutido ($11.95) and Rellenong Bangus ($25.50), both of which are festive dishes typically served at special occasions, according to general manager Maly San Luis.

Rellenong Bangus ($25.50) FILE PHOTO

Rellenong Bangus ($25.50)

“The Embutido is a Filipino holiday meatloaf that is made of ground pork, hot dog, cheese, a hardboiled egg, raisins and spices,” she explains. “It’s also available in catering trays: three loaves for $35.

“Rellenong Bangus is stuffed milkfish,” San Luis continues. “The meat of the milkfish is carefully removed with the skin intact. The meat is then seasoned with spices and stuffed back into the fish skin and cooked whole.

“This is a very time consuming special dish and is only offered during the holiday season,” she adds.

Crispy Pata ($14.75 medium, $18.95 large; $71.50 for catering tray of four large knuckles)

Crispy Pata ($14.75 medium, $18.95 large; $71.50 for catering tray of four large knuckles)

Another dish loved by many is Crispy Pata ($14.75 medium, $18.95 large; $71.50 for catering tray of four large knuckles). Also known as crispy pork knuckles, this succulent offering is marinated and simmered for hours until it is nice and tender. Then, it is deep-fried to a golden crisp and served with soy-vinegar dipping sauce.

“Pork is the most popular meat among Filipinos,” says San Luis. “Most people like it because it is juicy on the inside and the skin is crackling crispy — like pork rinds, another Filipino favorite.”

Max’s of Manila also reminds Dining Out readers about its Thanksgiving Brunch Buffet offered from 10 p.m. to 2 p.m., and that take-out orders are now available at maxsrestaurantusa.com.

Max’s of Manila

Costco Iwilei Complex
801 Dillingham Blvd., Honolulu
Open daily, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Waipahu Shopping Plaza
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.

Waipahu, HI 96797

Honolulu, HI 96817

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best