Saturday, May 10, 2008


I have fond memories of Max's Fried Chicken Restaurant. One I vividly remember was on a Sunday afternoon when my father brought the entire family to feast on this restaurant's famous fried chicken. From our table, I could see Manila Bay -- the palm trees gently swaying with the soothing breeze.

However, since my father had taken me to other restaurants in Binondo whose fried chicken were just as good, I wasn't one who immediately went to a Max's Restaurant upon my return to Manila. Actually, I craved more for Aristocrat's barbecued chicken with its unique sauce and Java rice. It was only when I posted a recipe ala Max's fried chicken did I realize how popular Max's fried chicken is, specially for Pinoys living abroad.

The recipe as I had posted it was quite simple:

- Thoroughly wash a whole chicken with salt as usual.
- Fill pan with water (chicken must be totally immersed in water)
- Add 1 tablespoon of whole black pepper and 3 pieces of star anis (sangke)
- Add sliced ginger and salt according to taste
- Boil chicken for 10 to 15 minutes using low fire
- Drain and deep-fry

However, some readers who tried it came back to ask or share certain points such as:

One reader wrote: "I tried your recipe today. It tastes good, almost like Max's, but the meat is a little dry. Do you have a technique to keep the meat moist."

Another suggested to try his father's technique: "yung father ko tinurokan muna ng water tapos freeze nya tapos deep fry."

An irate reader wrote: "anglayo sobra, sinubukan ko, ang amoy sobra ng star anis, tuyo ang laman, the next time you post a recipe, be sure na malapit lapit naman kahit paano. no hurt feelings my friend."

But someone came to my defense: "try this method. rub half chicken (cut lengthwise) with garlic clove, season with salt and pepper or patis and pepper. then rub liberally with cornstarch. steam the chicken until cook. let stand and cool. then deep fry! - fejtrc

Gene wrote a more descriptive suggestion: "Senyor, maraming maraming salamat po sa tip ninyo. Miss na miss na po namin ang Max fried chicken. Sinubukan po namin kanina ang recipe ninyo at meron po kaming dinagdag na ingredient based doon sa iba pa naming pag re research ng recipe na kalasa ng Max fried chicken. Pagkatapos po ng unang boil ng chicken with your recipe ay dinagdagan po namin ng 2 chicken cubes then, simmer siya ng 45 minutes. Ang lambot at juiceness ng loob ng chicken ay na maintain niya matapos namin siyang i drain ng 10 minutes. Sabay lagay sa mainit na mainit na mantika (canola oil) deep fried ninyo lang siya ng 3 minutes tapos baligtarin ang kabilang side at pabayaan din ng 3 minutes. Napansin ko ang ibang comments dito na medyo tuyo ang meat ng chicken nila sa loob. The secret here is don't over-fry it. 3 minutes lang each side ay sapat na yon para mag brown and crispy ang labas. Don't worry about the inside coz malambot at luto na siya due to boiling and simmering. Bago siya i-fry ay puwede ring pahiran ninyo siya (ang skin) ng patis according sa panlasa ninyo. Serve ninyo siya ng pipino at atsara on the side and nakupooo... kalasang kalasa talaga siya ng Max fried chicken."

Kitkat asked if she could use her turbo instead: "hello po! ita-try ko po itong recipe ninyo.isang question pa po.if i'm abput to use a turbo...mga anong temperature po kaya ang dapat kong ilagay and for how many minutes to make it crispy and juicy??? malaking help po sa lahat ang binibigay ninyong recipe...lalo na po sa mga taong nasa ibang bansa na nami miss na ang mga pagkaing tulad nito. God bless!"

Thanks to Gene with the response: "Hi Kitkat, kung turbo ang gagamitin mo I think it's best to set it at the highest level (or medium high...350 to 400 maybe?) and then once na mag brown and crispy ang labas eh yun na yun! You don't need to time it coz the inside of the chicken meat is cooked already (due to boiling or simmering) from senyor enrique's recipe. The secret here is don't over fry it (kung deep fry) or don't over do it (kung turbo ang gagamitin). Yung recipe ni senyor enriquez ang magbibigay ng lasa at aromang ala max fried chicken sa boiled chicken mo. Sa tingin ko senyor enriquez... kung papahiran ng patis with grounded pepper sabay wiwisikan (and I mean wisik lang at hindi pahid or paliguan) ni Kitkat ng cornstarch ang skin ng chicken niya eh magkakaroon ng lutong ang skin nito na akala mo eh ala-crispy pata ang dating... hehehhehe"

Here are some more comments from other readers:

"Hi Senor Enrique, thanks for the recipe. I just did it and the crisp appearance of the Max's Fried chicken that I have grown to love was back before my eyes, ready to be enjoyed. My kids loved it greatly. The skin was so crispy and the bones were crunchy too. Now, I have one thing though... I cannot yet call it "sarap to the bones." I will try what Gene has suggested, but will omit the simmering and go to it straight away. Now for a secret ingredient that most people don't know about Max's, it is deep fried with sweet potato (kamote). Much like Shakey's fried chicken which is deep fried with slices of potatoes which becomes mojos. Try it and please keep me posted for some comments!" - Fide

"hi! thanks for this recipe. its really a great copycat of max's chicken. at first i dont want to believe...but it was just perfect! as for the juiciness...i may suggest you buy a fresh chicken the one na hindi pa na frozen...its better kasi mas juicy ang chicken...anyway thanks!" - Nylre

"Thanks Senor and Gene for that great recipe. -- Hi fellow pinoys loving Max's chicken so much! Have a friend working at Max's and it is a top secret recipe. Their chicken arrives at the store branch in a plastic container and fries it when it is ordered. But one thing they said was they really boil it into a soup stock and they fry it in lard...yes...animal fat. I was amazed and yet scared to what it would do my health. That is why it was soooo good! And old folks say it was deep fried in butter. You might want to try it but think of what it would do to your body. Bon Appetit!!!" -- Anonymous

That's right! Much like Kentucky Fried Chicken's, Max's fried chicken recipe is a well-guarded secret. This version I had posted is a mere attempt to simulate its taste for the benefit of fellow Pinoys living abroad who miss the ever popular Max's fried chicken.


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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:58 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this post of yours last December of 2006 and I tried it for Christmas that year. I fumbled a little, the meat became dried up and tough. Then I tried it again, this time I shortened the boiling time of the chicken. I guess it worked. It's the boiling that dries it up kasi.

I have nice memories of Max Restaurant too. Many years ago, my two brothers had their wedding receptions here - one in Quezon City and the other in Manila. I have observed, though - lumiit na ang chicken nila ngayon. LOL. But in fairness - sarap to the bone pa rin. I particularly like the fried camote garnish that comes along with the fried chicken. :)

May 10, 2008 8:04 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just save this page bro and I'd be off to the nearest grocery storein a minute or tow, to buy one whole chicken.

I hope I'd do it right the first time around.

May 10, 2008 9:03 AM  

Blogger escape said...

i also like the Max's chicken with a perfect sauce of combining a ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. it really taste good. thanks to that recipe, though i have no plans of doing it yet but maybe soon. i'll share the recipe and the other tips to a friend in amsterdam instead.

May 10, 2008 9:22 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

Whenever I would like it very special---I marinate the chicken overnight then fry it until the skin is crispy then I bake it to make the meat just moist and tender.

Thanks for the Max chicken ingredients! I will try it! I also think the banana ketsup with worcestershire sauce adds to the heavenly experience of eating Max chicken. I have read a lot of horror stories about the KFC chicken farms and hope that Max have their chickens grown in the most natural way.

May 10, 2008 9:50 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Having been a ring bearer to so many weddings, there were receptions at Max's that I can recall, Rhoda.

But what I remember the most at that time was the small buns that they served with the fried chicken. I guess, by nature, kids aren't easily impressed even by dishes at famous eateries.

Yes , I got responses from readers whose chicken meat was all dried up. But other readers came up with solutions.

May 10, 2008 10:51 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Please let us know the result, Major Tom.

I bet your boys will love it, though :) Bon appetit!

May 10, 2008 10:53 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Got this recipe from the cooking class I attended in Diliman, Quezon City, donG. Many of my classmates were based abroad and they were delighted when the teacher surprised us with this recipe :)

Hope your Amsterdam friends enjoy it!

May 10, 2008 10:55 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That banana ketchup and worcestershire sauce should enhance this chicken recipe all right, Bernadette. Thanks!

It is horrible how some farms raise their livestock. Hope the Max's chickens aren't brutally traumatized :(

Let us know when you try this recipe and its results.

May 10, 2008 10:59 AM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

Ay, I will try this out. We looooove Max's. Pinaglihi nga ako dyan ng nanay ko eh :)

Let you know of my results :)

May 10, 2008 1:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

with this post of yours, i think i know now where to have lunch... at MAX'S! lol... :-)

May 10, 2008 1:19 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Were you really, Cookie? Whoa! Good thing your mom didn't name you Maxine, though it's a pretty name.

Yes, please let us know how it comes out :)

May 10, 2008 2:47 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hey, Daniel ... please let us know how much a whole fried chicken now costs at Max's, ok? Thanks!

May 10, 2008 2:47 PM  

Blogger Lola said...

I have a different take on Max Restaurant. Sure, the chicken is good, one of the best, but for me, it evokes romantic memories - Max and Aristocrat Restaurant. Haaay, if only I could bring back the hands of time. Pssst, wag kang maingay dyan, Eric.

May 10, 2008 7:53 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...


Hopefully, Pat, you'd get a chance to relive a moment or two of which when you come home for a visit :)

May 11, 2008 6:40 AM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Eric!

Thank you very much for sharing with us the Max fried chicken recipe plus all your readers' comments.

When I went to school in Quezon City, we lived in Scout Delgado and Max's was a 5-minute walk away from our house. So we had its fried chicken almost everyday. I guess I got overdosed, ha ha ha! But whenever I want to eat fried chicken, it's always Max's that comes to my mind. And now, I no longer have to wait to go to Manila to eat it ... they opened a branch here in Bacolod City.

I will share this with a sister who is a better cook than I am. Thanks again!

May 11, 2008 10:52 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

My pleasure, Bugsy!

Is that where the original Max's?

I guess, too much of anything isn't all that good for anybody. But at least, it was Max's fried chicken ... hehehe.

May 11, 2008 3:22 PM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Nakakatuwa naman ang comments ng readers mo sa recipe ng Max's. Kinarir talaga nila!:D I also love Max's fried chicken...I go to Max's at least once a week. My mom wouldn't eat any fried chicken unless it's Max's.

Ay, masarap din pala ang Savory fried chicken and the grilled chicken at Pollo Loco.:D

I hope I won't dream of fried chicken! Hahaha

May 12, 2008 1:11 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Ay talaga, Luna. Had it not been to the lively reader contributions, this fried chicken recipe would not have been any good for some.

Savory's is also quite tasty, but I am yet to try Pollo Loco. One of these I will :)

May 12, 2008 6:06 AM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Yes I think that's where the original Max's is. Although we grew up ordering from a Max's nearer to us ... I am not sure if it's Max's Baclaran.

I also hope you can do a write-up on Aristocrat's. I miss the food there. We used to eat a lot of pork barbecue (with the Java rice and sate sauce) from their main resto near Malate church.

May 12, 2008 1:51 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Aristocrat's near the Malate Church is the only Aristocrat's I enjoy going to. They have one at SM San Lazaro, too, but it doesn't seem to the same as the main branch.

Will try to take pictures of the place next time I find myself in the area, Bugsy :)

May 12, 2008 7:18 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Senor! I have fond memories of Max's but the best were my two sons' baptismal reception. One in Baclaran and the other was in SM-City Dasmarinas. Their service during those special events were as good as the fried chicken they serve.

May 13, 2008 11:57 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've passed by the Baclaran branch of Max's but have never been inside, Juleste. The only one I've been to is its Roxas Boulevard branch (in above photos).

Good to know that its staff is as good and deligent :)

May 14, 2008 6:14 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

The last time I was in Max's was in 2002. Marami kaming kumain dahil may special offer for 8 people for PHP 1,600. The food was good enough since marami kaming kasamang mga bata na pamangkin ni misis but it was not the same as the Max's of the old. Just like Aristocrat, parang iba na ang mga lasa ng pagkain nila, sabagay, iba nuon at ngayon. Savory or Ramon Lee's ang preferred choice namin when it comes to chicken meals.
I'm waiting for your write-ups about Aristocrat, lalo na yung pag-gawa nila ng Java rice...ginagaya ko parati yung rice nila by adding Mafran ketsup and mayonaise on my rice. Same color lang, pero iba ang lasa. LOL!

May 20, 2008 3:45 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Okay, Reyd, I will write something about Aristocrat next time I go back there for lunch or something.

Java Rice? I have a recipe for it, too. Will post it next time.

I still miss the spare ribs in NY's Chinatown. Yung mahahaba. Wala dito :(

May 20, 2008 6:35 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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