Bring A Lot To The TableCover Story
October 28, 2018
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
As Happy Days Chinese Seafood Restaurant celebrates more than 17 years in business, owner Lisa Lum still takes pride in the sight of satisfied customers enjoying a great meal.
The bustling restaurant, where dim sum carts whirl around the room and the kitchen buzzes with excitement, continues to attract loyal diners in search of their own Happy Days experience.
“The food is good, and people leave smiling — they always come back,” says Lum. “Our customers are so nice, they’re like family. They feel very comfortable when they come here.”
Lum has been in the restaurant business locally for more than three decades. Lum and Yung Sang Chan launched and operated the old Sea Fortune restaurant in Chinatown for 22 years, and after it closed, they opened Happy Days in 2001.
“We see longtime customers coming to this location now, as well as new guests,” says Lum. “The people are so nice, from the aunties to the grandparents, they come over and over again. It’s 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.
Happy Days is synonymous with stellar dim sum, with most offerings starting at $3.80 for three to four pieces, including Half Moon and Steamed Minced Beef Ball. The various dim sum selections, of which more than 35 types are available, are served from the restaurant’s carts from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and can be ordered a la carte during dinner service.
Additionally, Happy Days offers popular daily specials, including Dim Sum Lunch Special ($10.95, available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) with chicken salad, gon lo mein and five assorted dim sum selections, such as siu mai, spinach gau, mochi rice ball, char siu gau and custard pie. 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 or 10 percent off with credit cards.
After delving into the vast assortment of dim sum selections, one may choose from more than 250 entrees — which typically range from $10 to $15 — to enjoy individually or share family-style. With many options up for grabs, Happy Days caters to any type of eater. Tofu with Mixed Vegetables and Mushrooms ($12.95) is a perfect option for those who don’t allow meat in their diets. And if one is on a shrimp trip, there’s Salt and Pepper Shrimp ($15.95), which is prepared in a special house seasoning and cooked to golden-brown perfection.
Steak with Black Pepper Sauce ($14.95) is served on a sizzling platter as the tender beef is cooked to perfection and arrives to the table piping hot. Seafood enthusiasts will clamor for Sea-bass Filet with Choy Sum ($14.95), as the flaky white fish is sauteed with garlic and ginger, presenting bold flavors.
THERE’S ROOM AND FOOD FOR ALL
Happy Days Chinese Seafood Restaurant serves as 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 selections desired. One of the dinner packages ($268) includes six entree selections from a range of nearly 40 choices, three lobsters or two crabs prepared any style, rice and dessert. Parties of up to 300 are welcomed, but advance notice is recommended to ensure space and availability.