Sherman's Food Adventures: Happy Day

Happy Day

Shortly after my post on the last-standing location of Bino's, it suddenly closed.  I'm sure what I wrote had nothing to do with it as the place was already in disrepair and the food was crap.  It surely was on its last legs.  Now the place has been completely transformed into a modern Hong Kong-Style Cafe called Happy Day.  The place has been non-stop busy since it opened and trying to get a table is nearly impossible (since the place is not as big as it may appear).  We decided to make a preemptive strike by going for dinner at 4:30pm.  Heck, that was even too early for my parents!

Similar to what can be found in Hong Kong, the menu at Happy Day offers up many different versions of their Bo Loh Bao (Pineapple Buns).  Including the classic Pineapple Bun with a slice of cold butter, there are sandwiches consisting of pork chop, ham, Spam and egg.  My son went for the Corned Beef, Egg and Cheese Pineapple Bun which was a meal in itself.  The bun itself was fairly light, yet a bit dry.  However, with all the fillings, it made up for it.  I found the topping to be crumbly and sweet, which was fine.  The egg was not overdone while sporting a modest amount of canned corned beef.  The bun with cold butter was decent but naturally wasn't as good as the gold standard being Lido in Richmond.

From there, the meal started to go downhill with the Baked Pork Chop Rice.  There were several issues with this dish beginning with the fried rice base.  It ate like someone tossed it with fried egg than actually doing a good job wok-frying it since it too soft.  Second, the sauce itself was pale and bland.  We had to resort to adding salt and pepper.  The addition of onions was a fail since they were practically raw and too sharp-tasting.  The only good thing was the tender pork chop.  Sporting a similar bland sauce was the Ox-Tail Spaghetti.  We felt the portion size was underwhelming as its flavour.  Furthermore, the sliced oxtail was not as soft as we would've liked either.

We also gave this Fish Soup Noodles a shot as well with rice noodles, pork jowl and tendon.  I thought the soup base was decent, yet lacking in the natural sweetness of fish.  Furthermore, the noodles were overcooked being far too soft.  The pork jowl was nicely bouncy though and the tendon was soft, yet still retained some texture.  When it hit the table, the Singapore Fried Vermicelli looked legit with an appealing yellow hue.  Unfortunately, the noodles were far too dry and hard to swallow.  At the very least, the flavours were there with an impactful curry depth.  Although the shrimp exhibited a nice crunch and the BBQ pork was lean, both were hard to find as there wasn't much of them.

Our last dish was the Sweet & Sour Pork which was also modest in portion size.  We liked the fact it was made to order (not refried pork), which meant the outside was crispy while the inside was juicy and tender.  The amount of sauce was just right, barely clinging onto each piece.  It was on the sweeter side though, in desperate need of more vinegar.  Ultimately, this and the Pineapple Bun were the only appealing items we had at our meal at Happy Day.  The others were not only forgettable, they were generally unappetizing.  We were not sure why there is so much fuss, including the long lineups.

The Good:
- Nicely decorated and clean
- Efficient service
- Lots of choice with the Pineapple Buns

The Bad:
- Small portions
- Food is generally sub-par
- Flavours are a bit off


Anonymous said...

This has become my family's restaurant of choice whenever we're craving HK comfort food for breakfast/lunch/dinner, which is weekly. First of all, you don't have to drive to Richmond. Secondly, there's not much competition as the nearby Honolulu Cafe has been on a downward spiral for a long time. I like HK comfort food because it comes with a hot/cold drink (for a little more). It's not gourmet food, but it fills you up and I like the reasonable price points. Also, it's not as salty as some places tend to be.

Note: They take reservations and the dinner portions are twice as big. I was eyeing the peking duck, but noticed that everybody was ordering crab instead. Dinner includes a warm soup to start and a sweet one to end.

Sherman Chan said...

Actually, my post is the dinner portions. Unless you are talking about the Chinese dishes. I don't know. Our visit was very "meh". Maybe I'll give it another chance sometime.

LotusRapper said...

Holly, there are a few other "nearby-ish" HK cafes in addition to Happy Day and Honolulu Cafe:

- Golden Oscar (Rupert/22 Ave)
- 54 Ave Cafe (Kerr/54 Ave .... Champlain Plaza)
- Benss (Victoria/40 Ave)
- Happy Man (Victoria/36 Ave)

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