Happy Days Continues Reeling in the AwardsFeatures Inside Feature
June 1, 2014
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
When it comes to awards, Happy Days Chinese Seafood Restaurant has earned a notable “hana hou” worthy of celebration.
A year after receiving Star-Advertiser’s annual Hawaii’s Best People’s Choice Awards for serving up the “Best Chinese Food” and “Best Dim Sum,” Happy Days Chinese Seafood Restaurant owner Lisa Lum smiles a wide grin, as Lum takes pride in the sight of satisfied customers enjoying a great meal. The establishment celebrates its 13th anniversary in August.
Judging by the bustling restaurant, where dim sum carts whirl around the room and the kitchen buzzes with excitement, loyal diners continue to flock to the eatery in search of their own Happy Days experience.
“The food is good, and people leave smiling — they always come back,” Lum 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 launched and operated the old Sea Fortune restaurant in Chinatown for 22 years, and after it closed, they opened Happy Days in 2001.
“We have former customers coming to this location now, as well as new customers,” says Lum. “We have a big menu, so there’s always something new to try!”
Located in Kaimuki at the corner of Waialae and 11th avenues, Happy Days offers a host of Hong Kong-style Chinese cuisine in a relaxed, family-style setting that features a full bar and private dining room. The restaurant is arranged as an open dining hall and boasts red lanterns, large sparkling chandeliers and fish tanks that greet customers at the front door.
The restaurant is synonymous with stellar dim sum, with most items starting at $3.10 for three pieces, including Siu Mai (pork hash, order of four pieces) and Baked Char Siu Buns (order of three pieces). Additional favorites include Spinach Gau with Shrimp ($3.10), Half Moons ($3.10), Beef Look Fun ($3.30), and Taro Gok ($3.10). The more than 35 dim sum selections are served from the restaurant’s carts from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and can be ordered individually during dinner service.
After delving into a vast assortment of dim sum, one may choose from more than 250 entrees — many of which are priced under $10 — to enjoy individually or share family-style, including Beef with Sweet Sour Cabbage ($9.95) tossed in a homemade sauce. The dish also can be ordered with a choice of chicken, pork, squid or vegetables. Capital Style Pork Chops ($10.95) is another customer favorite and showcases a tangy homemade sweet-and-sour sauce that ties all the memorable flavors together.
Those craving noodles are encouraged to try Char Siu Gon Lo Mein ($9.95). The dish features fresh char siu pork and specially made Hong Kong-style noodles that are skinny and very light, yet satisfying. Lum recommends this noodle creation for pot lucks or parties, as the portion is plentiful.
Happy Days provides an ideal locale for a quick lunch, birthday celebration or family get-together. Special dinner party menus are available for groups of 10, and range from $199 to $268 depending on the menu desired. Parties of up to 300 are welcomed, and advance notice is recommended to ensure space and availability.
Additionally, Happy Days offers popular daily specials, such as Lunch Special ($9.95, available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) 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., during which customers receive 15 percent off orders when paying with cash, and 10 percent off with credit card. Take advantage of this unbeatable offer by presenting the coupon on Page 29.
Happy Days Chinese Seafood Restaurant
3553 Waialae Ave., Honolulu
Daily, 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m.