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Bite Into Tasty Good Fortune At This ‘Happy’ Eatery

Inside Feature

April 8, 2018

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

Dinner Plate ($10.95)

From the moment one enters, there’s simply no doubt about it: this is one of Kaimuki’s treasures, a landmark for those seeking delectable Hong Kong-style dim sum and cuisine.

Located at the corner of Waialae and 11th avenues, Happy Days Chinese Seafood Restaurant first opened its doors 17 years ago. For many locals, a visit to this place feels like a visit to an old friend.

Spring Rolls ($9.25, half-dozen)

The restaurant was decorated with optimal good fortune and fun in mind. Whimsical details provide plenty to look at: smiling golden Buddhas, enameled carp, tranquil landscapes in pale silk, quadriptych in shiny black lacquer. Big round tables are set with rose tablecloths. The ceiling is a raucous festival of scarlet lanterns and sparkling chandeliers.

Come early in the day (between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.) for dim sum, and you’re likely to find the tables packed with happy kamaaina who know exactly what they are pining for. Servers in crimson brocade trimmed with gold frogs move through the tables, pushing carts loaded with tasty surprises.

Kung Pao Chicken ($12.95)

You’ll want to try steamed bao, made with some of the best char siu on the island. Moving forward, don’t miss the delectable shu mai, spare ribs, half-moons, look funn, taro puffs or jin doi — even the chicken feet are finger-lickin’ good! (And remember, cash orders for takeout dim sum are always discounted 15 percent off between 8 and 11:30 a.m.)

If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, you might start with an order of Spring Rolls. For $9.25, you’ll receive a half-dozen order of crispy vegetarian spring rolls that are just right for sharing. Next, how about an order of Kung Pao Chicken ($12.95)? This generously-portioned dish includes peanuts, celery, onions, mushrooms and bell peppers, all with just enough sizzle to make you smile.

Dry Beef Chow Funn ($10.95)

Furthermore, a platter of Dry Beef Chow Funn, at $10.95, is hearty and satisfying, with perfectly cooked noodles, bean sprouts, onions and tender slices of perfectly seasoned beef.

“You can have beef or chicken or pork, it’s your choice,” says owner Lisa Lum, beaming.

And for a mouthwatering sampler of some of Happy Days’ favorite dishes? “We make the Dinner Plate,” says Lum proudly, “so people can try something to see if they like it!”

Sometimes, she adds, it’s no fun to order just one course when only one or two people are dining. For $10.95, the Dinner Plate has it all: beef chow mein, fried rice, char siu pork, cold ginger chicken and crispy wonton.

With customizable private chambers suitable for intimate celebrations, a big main dining room filled with festive decor, and a menu whose 200-plus dishes include some of China’s most delicious flavors, Happy Days is truly a gem in Oahu’s culinary crown.

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