What: (from the top) Fried Chicken (half), Sinigang na Hipon, Crispy Pata
Where: Max of Manila in Vaugahn (GTA. Location in Vancouver, BC and Overseas)
Affordability: $8 – $15 per dish on average
– Max of Manila is a chain restaurant that is widely popular in the Philippines and a go to for many locals. It has since expanded to other countries that are densely populated by Filipinos including, UAE, USA (California, New Jersey, & Hawaii), and most recently in Canada (Vaughan and Vancouver). Judging by how busy the restaurant was tonight, its probably a good assumption that it is a hit with the Filipino community in other countries as well. There had been talks and rumours of it expanding in Mississauga in the near future.
– For dishes, try the chicken. It is not your typical run of the mill KFC or Popeye’s fried chicken; there is no batter that is artery clogging on this one. Just plain fried chicken but still juicy. The skin of the chicken is crispy fried so it is actually edible without being sickening. We ordered half in the fear of not finishing a whole chicken with the other dishes we ordered. It is what they are famous for and it is really different from any fried chicken you’ve had in that it is not overly seasoned, salty or concealed in batter. It’s just plain chicken with a plain taste. It is what they are famous for so give it a go. I liked it. I added banana ketchup to mine and it tasted like chicken that would have been cooked in the chain in Manila.
– Order the Crispy Pata. It is a House Special and I can see and taste why. Crispy Pata is one of my favourite Filipino dishes and this does one does not disappoint. Crispy Pata is deep fried pork hock or knuckle. It is deep fried so that the skin is crispy but still very juicy and succulent meat found inside. It is awesome with a vinegar dip (usually provided).
– We also ordered the Sinigang na Hipon or Shrimp and Sour Soup. It is staple for Filipinos and we just have it tonight as well. We felt we needed something to moisten our palate; after all we are having pretty much very dry food. I make a mean Pork and Sour Soup so to impress me with theirs would be hard. However, I have to give it to Max, it wasn’t a fail and I would definitely have it again.
– We also ordered the garlic fried rice. Too clumpy and moist for our liking. I also make a mean garlic fried rice and this time, I can’t give theirs a thumbs up.
– Overall, impressed. We were looking for a bit of Manila flavour and certainly Max of Manila has it. We had no room for dessert but I would definitely suggest trying out the Halo-Halo (Mixed fruits with shaved ice and milk) or Sago at Gulaman (Tapioca & Jelly drink). They are both very refreshing especially in these warm temps. Philippines is a very hot tropical country and they know how to cool down with their desserts.
– There is a bit of a wait when it comes to service; probably because they have to prep your order. But the staff should be more attentive to this and be proactive with guests. No one checked on our table after the dishes were served and no one told us how much longer our food was going to take. We had to keep calling the server/bus boys to get something. There was also a shortage of menus, which is sort of surprising for a restaurant. This probably about the only complaint we have…or as I’ve said “a little un-Manila hospitality”.
– Would I go back to Max of Manila? Sure. And I think you should check it out too. Arrive before 7pm if you want to eat dinner on time…otherwise there might be a wait. They don’t take reservations on weekends, and you’ll see why. I hope they open on in Mississauga soon, or Toronto.