Take a Tour of the Philippines with Max’s Restaurant

One of the things that I looked for when I relocated to Dubai was Filipino food establishments. There are quite a few here that already cater to the Philippine market. But nothing beats the kind of authenticity and consistency, in terms of ingredients and taste, that Max’s Restaurant provides to its customers. This homegrown brand is truly one of the best Asian restaurants in the emirate. And it has been our go-to eatery whenever we long for legit Philippine food. I’m glad that we no longer need to travel back home to satisfy our cravings, as Max’s Restaurant is now offering some of the most sumptuous meals from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Allow their exclusive menu to take you on a tour of the Philippines in seven delectable dishes.

The 'Tour of the Philippines' menu, which was created by Executive Chef Enrique Suarez Jr. and his culinary team, was made to celebrate the diversity of the Philippines through its delicious food. They’ve also featured seven distinct dishes from provinces all over the country.

Everything is made to order at Max’s Restaurant. Just tell them your preferences, and the team will make sure to satisfy your requests. In our case, since some of the meals from the new menu were spicy, we were asked if we wanted to tone down the heat levels. But since we’re tasty eaters, we opted to have the dishes as is.

We were only able to sample 6 out of 7 dishes, as the Ilocos Dinengdeng (a bagoong-based dish of mixed vegetables topped with fried Bangus belly) wasn’t available at the time. 

We started our culinary journey around the Philippines with Max's Bacolod Chicken Inasal. It's a marinated and char-grilled chicken leg quarter served with calamansi, chili soy, garlic vinegar, and atchara.

This local dish had cuts that were large, filling, and flavorful, especially when dipped in soy sauce, and then paired with atchara. I also loved the charred taste on the chicken, as it brought back memories of grilling meat on a Sunday afternoon with my family. 

Price: 34 AED
Serving size: Good for 2 pax

I also tasted the Kansi Ilonggo soup, and it turned out to be a great complement to the Chicken Inasal. Kansi Ilonggo is made with beef shank, lemongrass, tomatoes, red and green chilis, annatto oil, and jack fruit. This sour beef broth, which is a combined version of Bulalo and Sinigang, originates from the Ilonggo region. 

I loved that Max’s was consistent with the way they cooked the beef, as it was tender at every bite. Also, the natural flavors of the corn and jack fruit were kept intact. Both tasted even better after they’ve absorbed all the extracts from the soup. All in all, this is a meal that I could eat all day, every day. It was that good!

Price: 42 AED
Serving size: Good for 2-3pax

I’ve never tasted Beef Hinalang (derived from the word 'Halang', which means hot) before, so I had no expectations of it. But after sipping Davao’s spicy version of Nilagang Baka, the soup became an instant favorite. It had an instant kick from the chilis, which was appealing to the palate.

The spicy beef broth soup dish, with tender beef cuts, was made with beef short ribs, spring onion, and ginger. It’s best enjoyed with rice to minimize its hotness.

Price: 39 AED
Serving size: Good for 2-3pax

We tried the fish variant next, which was the Sinaing na Bangus Belly (braised fish that originally came from the coastal towns of Batangas), and was amazed by the flavors infused in both the fish and broth. It was like a toned-down version of Paksiw. It's made with Milkfish belly, kamias, garlic and onion, and slow-cooked in vinegar stock. 

Unlike the Paksiw, the Sinaing na Bangus Belly had a smoother taste. It was flavorful and not too sour. I also liked that it was cooked to perfection, as I was able to eat the belly without objection. Those who know me know that I don’t like eating this part of the fish. So this one was a good meal.

Price: 36 AED
Serving size: Good for 2 pax

Now, what’s interesting about the Chicken Binakol is that it’s simmered in coconut water, and then cooked in bamboo to help seal the natural flavor of the ingredients (there’s lemongrass, onion, garlic, and chicken). This dish from Aklan is similar to Tinolang Manok but is like a sweeter version of it. The chicken parts were tender, and the coconut shavings added a nice touch on the soup.

Price: 37 AED
Serving size: Good for 2-3 pax

The Bicol Express is a personal favorite. I would always have this requested to be cooked whenever I'm home in the Philippines. It's a fried, marinated beef that's simmered in spicy coconut milk with shrimp paste, long chilis, onion, and garlic. Popularized in Malate, Manila, this dish is known by its native name Sinilihan.

The beef was tender, the coconut cream was rich and full, and the bagoong (shrimp paste) was subtle yet fresh. The addition of the sitaw was also a good complement to the dish, taste, and presentation-wise. All in all, the Bicol Express had just the right amount of heat, but we would've preferred it with a little more punch.

Price: 39 AED
Serving size: Good for 2 pax

We couldn’t leave without getting dessert. So we ordered the Max’s Dessert Sampler (a house specialty), even if it wasn’t part of the Tour of the Philippines menu. The platter consisted of Buko Pandan, Ube Crème Decadence, Leche Flan, and Cream Cheese Brownie a la mode (topped with Macapuno ice cream). It was the best local sweets to end an exceptional feast. 

Price: 33 AED
Serving size: Good for 1-2 pax

The six dishes that we were able to try were delicious! We were impressed with how authentic and consistent the flavors were. Our dining experience was truly reminiscent of our time in the Philippines. So kudos to everyone on the team for making this menu possible for everyone to try.

I would also like to give a special shout out to Max’s restaurant manager, Ms. Marinel. We appreciated how she engaged with every guest during our stay. I know that it’s part of their S.O.P. to always ask customers how the food is, and if there’s anything else needed. But her persona showed genuine concern and great customer service. 

We left Max’s Restaurant with happy hearts and tummies, and I bet you will too. So on your next food trip, do include this Filipino restaurant because you will surely enjoy their "Tour of the Philippines" menu.

Explore & Be Free!

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