One of the restaurants that’s been franchised in Philippines is the Max restaurant and usually, it’s located in malls and near gas stations. It’s also called the “the house that fried chicken built” .
Now, I am instantly dubious about any house that claims it was built by fried chicken. Because I believed, the only house where it was built was by the Colonel. And he started it in Kentucky. So my assumption was that Max Restaurant was simply a KFC clone (like all fast food restaurants in China). But the truth and history of it here are a little more complex.
Back in 1945, after the Japanese had left the Philippines, US army were also keeping guard a friendly chap. His name is Maximo Gimenez. He kept on inviting them to his house for a drink. Well apparently this ended up becoming a thing to do for soldiers. But they felt guilty always consuming the naughty soup for free.
Insisted on paying, he decided to open a cafe. And get his misses to do the cooking. Initially, they sold steaks, chicken, and beer. His niece Ruby then developed a “secret recipe”. A secret recipe for fried chicken, does that sound familiar? Well regardless, it proved popular. And Max Restaurant as it was now known, started to expand rapidly. Eventually moving into the franchise game in 1998, now boasting 128 restaurants in The Philippines. As well stores in many major cities of the USA, and Canada. Whilst still being run by the same family.
So enough of the history lesson, what is the food like there? The menu is actually pretty massive (it even includes beer). Making my initial KFC copycat accusation somewhat erroneous with the lions share being type meaty Filipino dishes. Such as Sisig and Adobo, and of course fried chicken…
Being the wild adventurer and gastronomical traveler that I am, I went for a half non coated fried chicken. Which come as standard with plantain fries, all covered liberally with their home brand Catsup (Banana ketchup), and hot sauce. And it was ok if it’s not earth-shattering. The plantain fries made a nice change.
Max Restaurant is worth a try if you are in The Philippines and fancy a change. But overall a bit of an easy to forget franchise.
Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.