Happy Family Restaurant
We weren’t planning on having Chinese food. In fact, we were walking into the KFC on Kingsway and Gladstone when we started smelling something really good… and we knew it wasn’t coming from the KFC! There was a long line up at the KFC so I went to investigate the aromas coming from the restaurant next door. To my surprise, it was pretty full considering it was a Thursday night. I asked for a take-out menu and headed back to the KFC. While waiting, we poured over the fairly extensive take-out menu (266 items) and figured we’d rather have Chinese instead so we high-tailed it out of the KFC and walked next door. The restaurant is faily small so we were lucky they still had some small booths available.
I think almost all of the tables were having king crab (thought the king crab season was over?) – it looked very interesting… they had the usual steamed crab legs with garlic, the spicy deep-fried “knuckles”, and they also had a dish served with the king crab shell. At first I thought it was the baked seafood fried rice but it turns out it was a noodle dish.
Happy Family is very much a Chinese restaurant with all the specials written in Chinese on the walls. While it looks like a hole-in-the-wall from the outside, it didn’t seem to bother any of the other patrons. There was a large flat panel tv screen in the corner playing the Canucks game but I think everyone was too busy with their King Crab to notice.
Prices were pretty cheap. Our dinner included a free soup made with carrots, pork, and veggies. The bowl looks small because we had already scooped out our bowls – there was actually plenty of soup and we didn’t finish it. Either way, freebies are always a nice way to start a meal.
The snow pea tips that we ordered was good. Definately not as garlicy as some restaurants and not as mushy. I liked the texture and the “snap” as I chewed it.
The oyster hot pot was good and had lots of onions. There were some green onions as well but I would have preferred if they had a little more green onions in the pot. Good “jhup” for soaking into your rice. Did I mention that the rice was free too? The take out menu says it’s $1.25 but they gave us two heaping bowls of steamed rice for free… Bonus!
We didn’t know we were getting free soup so we had ordered the crab meat and fish maw soup. A little plain in taste (guess that’s why they bring it with a shaker of white pepper) but it did contain real crab meat in it.
I was a bit disappointed with the steamed black cod on tofu with black bean sauce. They told us they ran out of fresh black cod and they only had frozen left. It’s not that it tasted bad, it just that there was something missing from the dish that I can’t put my finger on. It could be because the cod was frozen but even the soy sauce seemed to lack a bit of substance.
Our final freebie was the green bean dessert. Not entirely sure what was in it but we thought we saw seaweed in it.
Very good value given all the freebies. Think I wouldn’t mind trying the king crab if we come back (probably wait until the prices come back down next year though).
Food: 3.5 / 5
Service: 3.5 / 5