rice cake confessional

adventures in eating

max’s – mall of asia, pasay city, phils

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There is a Max’s Restaurant in San Francisco but if you ask anybody who is anybody they will tell you that it’s not as good as the original restos in the Philippines. This particular meal came after a mondo shopping expedition to the Mall of Asia in Pasay. Built on reclaimed land, it is the sixth largest mall in the world. Even for the seasoned shopper like myself, it was a bit overwhelming. Anywho, back to the food.

We ordered one of the family meals that is enough for 10 people and costs about P3,000. That’s roughly USD 66 depending on the exchange rate. Not bad at all if you are feeding 10 people. Here’s what you get:


Fried boneless bangus (milkfish) lightly battered. Bangus is a general pain to eat since it has lots of bones especially in the tail end. Luckily, it’s not that hard to get it boneless. More points if you can get it fried up. Fact of the day: bangus is the national fish of the Philippines.


Max’s kare kare does not disappoint. I’ve featured this before but it’s a peanut based oxtail stew with eggplant, beans, and bok choy. This one also had banana blossom hearts (those are the bamboo shoots looking things at the top).


This is a terrible picture of my favorite part of the meal: the lechon kawali. Lechon is traditional roasted pig and kawali is Filipino for pan. Lechon kawali is made of the super fatty part of the pig. It has three layers: the meat, the fat, and the crispy skin. The whole shebang is fried to perfection. I usually enjoy the meat and the skin and scrape off the fat (since I fear a future of angioplasties caused by lechon kawali consumption). So good with Mang Tomas sauce. Mang Tomas is one of those brand phenomenas. I am sure it has another ‘real’ name but everyone calls the salty but sweet, peppery, liver-based sauce Mang Tomas.


Max’s sinigang na hipon is in a clear, fresh broth that is nice and sour with some heat from the peppers.


This is Max’s claim to fame. Their fried chicken is simply seasoned with salt and pepper (and maybe garlic powder?). Its skin is perfectly crisp and meat remains moist and tender. Perfect with banana ketchup.


We love our sauces. From the top is Mang Tomas sauce for the lechon kawali, vinegar for the chicken and bangus, and bagoong for the kare kare.


For dessert you get buko pandan. Sago balls with coconut jelly, coconut strings, in coconut milk flavored with pandan, a fragrant leaf often found in Philippine desserts.

You’re probably thinking that this doesn’t look like soooo much food. Well, it is. You get double of everything. We had a huge doggy bag of leftovers afterwards. 4 1/2****

Max’s Restaurant @ the Mall of Asia: SM Central Business Park 1, Island A, Bay City, Pasay City, Philippines


Written by joann

October 28, 2007 at 5:29 pm

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