Dim sum and more help restaurant soarA La Carte
November 3, 2019
Story By: Brandon Bosworth | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
The aptly named Happy Days Chinese Seafood Restaurant has been keeping diners happy for nearly 20 years. The secret to their longevity?
“We have good customers,” says owner Lisa Lum. “They always come back.”
And come back they do. At lunchtime, the Waialae Avenue-based eatery is filled with people enjoying the Hong Kong-style dim sum service Happy Days is famous for. Available from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., options include such favorites as manapua, pork hash, scallop dumplings, potstickers and more. Lum says customers show up right at the restaurants 8 a.m. opening, often to order dim sum. “We get plenty of take-out orders in the morning,” she says.
There is way more to Happy Days than dim sum. True to its name, the restaurant offers a wide array of dishes from the sea. For example, consider the Steamed Sea Bass with Ginger and Onion ($14.95). Sea bass filets are delicately steamed and then served in a light shoyu-based sauce with generous amounts of ginger and onion. According to Lum, this item is a favorite with those who are trying to eat healthier or who prefer seafood over meat.
If you want seafood, meat and a whole bunch more in one dish opt for the House Noodle ($11.95). It’s a generous helping of shrimp, beef, chicken, pork, mushrooms, carrots and choi sum served over noodles.
The Sweet Sour Cabbage with Pork ($13.95) offers a nice crunch from the cabbage to complement the pieces of tender pork, carrots, onions and garlic. It can also be ordered with beef or shrimp.
For vegetarians, vegans, or anyone just craving a delicious plant-based meal, Happy Days offers Jai ($11.95). This dish features long rice, peas, water chestnuts, baby corn, bean curd and two types of mushrooms in a mild sauce. The name “jai” comes from a Chinese phrase meaning “Buddha’s delight, and has long been enjoyed by Buddhist monks in China. It’s also traditionally enjoyed on Chinese New Year. Lum says jai has become more popular as more people choose to refrain from eating meat.
Speaking of Chinese New Year, Lum says she is already looking ahead to the seasonal celebrations, when Happy Days will offer the traditional sweet rice cake gau for a limited time to mark the occasion.
In addition to being a great place to dine, Happy Days in an ideal location for get-togethers and celebrations. According to Lum, the restaurant can accommodate about 300 patrons within its ample dining room. They also offer private areas for parties.