Our next stop for our Sooo Pinoy food tour is a classic. Anyone who’s ever lived in the Philippines would know Max’s. I remember eating at their branch in QC way back when I was a kid. Max’s is not about fancy or quirky versions of Pinoy classics. They don’t stray from the familiar, so it’s perfect comfort food when you’re craving for meals with home-cooked goodness. So when we started ordering, we knew we were venturing into the comforting familiar.
My drink was the classic sago’t gulaman, and it doesn’t get any more Pinoy than that. Whenever it’s available, this is always my refreshment of choice. Buko juice is a close second.
Sinigang na Bangus Belly
My favorite sinigang is actually sugpo. But this a close second. It’s the perfect starter for a big meal like today’s, and the best in-between breaker when going from one ulam to another. The warm sour soup just hit the spot!
This is the star dish for August, so thought we should make it our vegetable dish. Like I said, the taste is very classic. Max’s doesn’t experiment too much with the tested formulas. It almost tasted like the pinakbet of my youth, when we had a yaya who cooked really well.
One of the best dishes today. It has that lutong-bahay quality to it. If you prefer your adobo more on the salty side, and hardly tasting the vinegar, this is the adobo for you. One of those dishes that you just can’t without rice. In fact, you shovel rice with a dish as saltily delicious as this!
How could you go wrong with crispy pata? We had a choice between lechon kawali and crispy pata, and since we got lechon kawali last stop, we went for the crunchy pork knuckles that are regular companions during inuman all over the country. We really had to stop ourselves from gorging on the crunchy skin of the pork.
Of course, the star of the show. To dine in Max’s and not order chicken is almost a sin! Doesn’t matter how good the other dishes are, I always save the chicken for last. This really transport me to when I was a little boy, free from troubles. It’s such a comfort food, sending warm tingly happy feelings all over with the first bite into the warm juicy chicken meat that instantly melts in your mouth. Of course it comes with the 3 condiments in the first photo — banana ketchup, worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. It CANNOT be eaten any other way.
Just our luck, we couldn’t order their halo-halo because their ice machine broke down. So we opted for the dessert sampler instead. Omigosh, all 4 desserts are to die for! The ube pana cotta is the BEST. They say it’s endorser Piolo Pascual’s favorite. It’s sooo creamy with just the right amount of sweetness. The other 3 are just as good. Delle loves the brownie ala-mode. What I loved was getting some of the ice cream from the brownie, and then eating it with the leche flan — heavenly — my eyes rolled back into my head. And of course the buko pandan is a classic that everyone loves, also the least sweet of the sweets (so it’s also a fave).
Max’s is one of those restaurants you have to eat at every so often, just to transport you to a simpler time, when food always tasted like it was cooked by your mom. It’s like a warm blanket on a cold night. Comfort food is the best way to describe it.