Where happiness is a warm dim sum
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Obviously, there are many Chinese eateries through out the island. But what sets Happy Days Chinese Seafood Restaurant apart is right there in its name.
“People gather here and get their whole family together. Everyone is so happy,” says owner Lisa Lum. “Our customers are just like family — they always come back,” she adds.
The evidence of that claim was clear on a recent weekday when Dining Out stopped by: It was packed with customers chatting excitedly over dim sum, which is one thing that Happy Days has become particularly known for, Lum says.
Lum was already a veteran in Chinese dining before opening Happy Days. She previously worked at another Chinese restaurant downtown for nearly 15 years. Plus, she also is the owner of Nice Day Chinese Seafood Restaurant.
So it’s no wonder that over the years, Lum has crafted an impressive collection of dishes. Happy Days’ menu has about 240 options, with everything from dim sum and casseroles to noodle dishes and sizzling plates. There also is a wide selection of seafood items.
The sprawling menu includes popular staples such as Kung Pao Chicken ($11.95) and Salt and Pepper Shrimp ($14.95).
The Kung Pao Chicken is accented with peanuts, onion, peppers and celery, all stir-fried and bursting in flavor with a bit of a spicy kick. Lum explains that the Salt and Pepper Shrimp has an extra little addition for flavor: “The shrimp has the head and the shell on — plenty of customers like that.”
Then there’s Jai Chow Mein ($10.95), a Hong Kong-style dish. Happy Days’ version is loaded with vegetables instead of the standard meat and seafood, and it features Chinese peas, mushrooms, carrots and more.
“These days, there are plenty of people who don’t want to eat meat,” explains Lum. “It’s got all the healthy things in there.”
Happy Days Chinese Restaurant
3553 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki
Daily, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.