Celebrating Good Luck, Health and Prosperity
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Gung Hee Fat Choy! Just in time for Chinese New Year (Feb. 10), Happy Days Chinese Seafood Restaurant in Kaimuki is selling its popular Gau ($5) now through early March.
Gau (also called niangau) is one of the many traditional Chinese foods that are eaten during Chinese New Year with a symbolic purpose for a year of good luck, health and prosperity. The name translates to “moving up in the year,” while the sticky texture (similar to mochi) represents the family sticking together. It’s also topped with sesame seeds for fertility and a red date for good luck.
There are many other foods on the regular Happy Days menu that are important to include in your Chinese New Year meal. For example, Jai ($9.95) is available all year-round but is commonly eaten as the first meal on the first day of the year as a way to start fresh. Also known as monk’s food, this vegetarian dish is a delicious stew of vegetables, including various types of mushrooms and long rice noodles, which represent longevity.
Some of the everyday customer favorites that are also great choices for Chinese New Year include the Steamed Seabass Fillet with Ginger and Onion ($11.95) made with a homemade shoyu and hot oil sauce; and the Crispy Skin Chicken (half $11.95), which is deep fried to a crispy skin on the outside while maintaining the meat tender inside and served with shrimp chips. Another must-try is the Stir Fried Eggplant ($9.95) with bamboo shoots, green onion, pork, fungus, red pepper and a tasty, mildly spicy sauce.
In business for 12 years, Happy Days is a traditional Chinese Hong Kong-style restaurant offering dim sum and jook (from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and an extensive menu with an impressive 249 dishes (available from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.). There also are dinner specials and banquet menus. The restaurant seats 300 people and a private room for up to 40 guests also is available.
“Our food is good and fresh, and we have a lot of regular customers,” notes co-owner Lisa Lum. “People say we have friendly service. I opened the restaurant because I wanted to see people happy.”
Happy Day Chinese Restaurant
3553 Waialae Ave., Honolulu
8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily