Some weeks ago, I went on a cheese-free diet for a whopping five days. I realized just how much cheese I eat and wanted to see if I can deal well with not having any to perk up my food. The verdict: Yes, it is completely doable. In the middle of my experiment, TJ and I were at the mall and thinking of places that will not tempt me to give in to cheese. Manang’s Chicken was only a few feet away and I suggested we eat there. We had no idea what to expect, but hey, the place looked nice and clean and the food was reasonably priced.
The food chain bills itself as “Ang bagong fried chicken ng bayan”, which might sound scandalous to those who have long considered Max’s the purveyor of chicken for Filipinos. Given that the quality of Max’s chicken has been slipping the past several years*, it was time for a nice new brand of fried chicken to step up to the plate.
And speaking of a plate, TJ and I each ordered a plate of two-piece chicken cuts with the original sauce. The size astounded us, because the chicken pieces were hefty. Digging into the meat showed us that they were well cooked, too, with nice white meat as opposed to other places offering chicken with strangely pink, somewhat slimy meat. The meat of Manang’s Chicken was tasty, and what’s even tastier? The nice crunchy skin. Just take a close look at it.
The chicken is described as double-fried with soy garlic sauce. Now where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, here and here. There’s something different about the sauce used by Manang’s, though. Seems a bit sweeter, with more hints of the soy sauce. We definitely like it, though.
We ordered potato chips to go along with our meal, too. While I don’t think it’s quite as spectacular as, say, Ribbon Fries, Manang’s Chips and Dip is nevertheless a nice, crunchy buy, and the chips tasted freshly made.
The verdict: Loved it, and as a matter of fact, I’ve already gone back a second time and ordered chicken with the mild-spicy sauce and a cup of macaroni salad, which was, eh, all right, but not life-changing. My mother had the fish fillet which is available for a limited time–she liked it, but found the accompanying sauce unusual, and thought that something like tartar sauce is more appropriate. I’m certainly hoping Manang’s Chicken stays yummy and crunchy, and that the quality won’t deteriorate over time.
* Let this be a wake-up call for you, Max’s, to get cracking on improving your chicken! You used to be sarap-to-the-bones, but no longer, and I am personally rooting for you to get your act together.