Good Times Roll at Happy DayFeatures Inside Feature
July 8, 2012
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Leah Friel
As Happy Day Chinese Seafood Restaurant approaches its 11th anniversary in August, owner Lisa Lum still finds delight at the sight of satisfied customers enjoying a great meal.
And, judging by the bustling restaurant where dim sum carts whirl around the room and a frenzied kitchen buzzes with excitement, loyal diners continue to bring their appetites and leave with smiles on their faces.
“The food is good, and people leave smiling — they always come back,” she says. “They’re so nice, they’re like family. They feel very comfortable when they come here.”
Lum and co-owner Yung Sang Chan have been in the business locally for more than three decades, and the pair also runs Nice Day Chinese Seafood Restaurant in Liliha. The duo started and operated the old Sea Fortune restaurant in Chinatown for 22 years, and after it closed, they opened Happy Day in 2001.
“We get old customers coming to this location now, as well as new customers,” says Lum of her loyal diners. “The people are so nice, from the aunties to the grandparents, they come over and over again.”
Located in Kaimuki at the corner of Waialae and 11th avenues, Happy Day offers a host of Hong Kong-style Chinese cuisine in a relaxed, family-style setting. The restaurant is arranged as an open dining hall, and is decorated with bright-red lanterns, large chandeliers and the iconic fish tank that greets customers at the front door.
Happy Day is synonymous with stellar dim sum selections, with most offerings starting at $2.68 for three pieces, including pork hash, taro, baked manapua, shrimp with spinach, beef balls and sesame seed balls — a popular dessert treat, especially during Chinese New Year.
After choosing from selections on the dim sum cart, order up an entree or two to share, including Seabass with Ginger and Onion ($11.95), Orange Chicken ($9.95) or Capital Style Pork Chops ($9.95). The crispy yet juicy pork is smothered in onions and covered with a tangy barbecue-style sauce that tantalizes the tastebuds.
House Noodle ($9.95) is another longtime customer favorite, as the bed of cake noodle is topped with seafood, chicken, pork and vegetables then bathed in an oyster sauce that brings all the flavors together. Similarly, the Bah Chun Style Tofu Casserole ($12.95) incorporates large pieces of tofu, seafood, char siu, chicken and vegetables.
Happy Day is home to a host of regular customers stopping in for a quick lunch, birthday celebration or family get together. The eatery is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., making it the ideal location for a great meal anytime the mood strikes.
Happy Day offers popular daily specials, including the Lunch Special ($8.95), which comes with chicken salad, gon lo mein and five assorted dim sum selections. A dim sum carry-out special also is available daily from 8 to 11:30 a.m. when customers receive 15 percent off orders when paying with cash, and 10 percent off with credit card transactions.
“Every time you’re hungry, you can come and enjoy!” says Lum.
Happy Day Chinese Restaurant
3553 Waialae Ave., Honolulu
Open daily, 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.