IF you crave for Chinese food on Saipan, you have a lot of places to go, as long as you choose the right dining hours. We were not looking for any specific cuisine early on Friday night but when we passed by Happiness Chinese Restaurant in Garapan, we decided to try it out.
The restaurant is one of the few surviving establishments in the area that have not put up a “Closed” or “For Rent” sign.
We went in and headed to a corner table. A food staffer handed us menus. Not hungry yet, it took us forever to browse the menu until I decided to try the $12 fried beef sparerib with spicy salt and a serving of rice. My buddies ordered the $9 fried chicken wings with hot pepper and the $9 fried rice Fujian style.
The food staff served my fried beef spareribs first on a small platter — all business and without any frills whatsoever. The rice followed after several minutes. The fried chicken followed, and after more waiting, the fried rice. In fairness, the spareribs tasted good albeit way too spicy.
When only two slices of the fried chicken slices were left, we ventured to ask the food staff if they had some sauce to go with it. She immediately shook her head.
“Some catsup?” we tried again, trying to suppress laughter to which she said “oh we have.” So my buddy got some catsup to dip the last two slices of chicken in. After having eaten in so many restaurants, I guess I took it for granted that fried foods always come with sauces.
We were the only customers but it took some time to get a refill of water.
As I said, the food is okay, but don’t expect generous servings if you’re used to sharing. One serving is good for one not-so-hungry person.
The restaurant’s interior is a mix of traditional and contemporary décor, with Chinese characters sprawled on the walls between wood and brick designs. A long shelf on one wall was filled with Chinese jars and ceramic pots for sale.
Happiness Chinese Restaurant serves a variety of soups from the $8 tofu with vegetables to the $48 braised shark fin and club miso, appetizers, fish and seafood specialties such as boiled abalone, boiled sea cucumber with mushroom, steamed fresh fish, lobster, and other seafood, poultry dishes which includes the $55 Happiness original duck with soy sauce and chicken dishes, meat dishes including pork and beef dishes. You can also check out the hot pot choices such as the seafood or beef shabu-shabu, seasonal vegetables, and tofu covered crab sauce — all within the $9 to $45 price range.
Vegetarians are not left out as the restaurant offers a wide variety of egg and vegetable choices from $8 to $18 per order, cereals and noodle dishes within the $5 to $18 range.
Cap your meals with any of the favorite Chinese desserts such as bean pudding, custard, steamed egg, tapioca with red beans, almond jelly, and steamed edible bird’s nest.
Happiness Chinese Restaurant is located on Cpl. Derence Jack Road in Garapan — follow the road going to the Fiesta Resort & Spa passing Winchell’s. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. for dinner daily. For reservations, call 233-9468. This article was first published HERE