Happy Restaurant’s $2 Snacks and Sticky Meatballs

It was less the name, and more so the pictures of giant congee bowls that drew me in to Happy Restaurant for lunch. The menu, a one page paper print out, features dim sum-like snacks, all ranging from 50 cents to $4.50. I always enjoy a lunch made up of a few different little things, so I was all about it.

I chose the pork bone congee. I  was warned to look out for the tiny bone pieces and I think I probably ended up eating one, but at least I didn’t choke. The subtle congee is topped with dried little shrimps and scallions, though I could have used less of the former and more of the latter. Adding soy sauce was necessary to boost the flavor.

The huge $2 bowl is a good deal in itself; but wait there’s more. Each bowl of congee comes with a little side dish, either Szechuan pickles, preserved sea tangle, or  peanuts. I wasn’t so much in a tangle sort of mood (or more like, I have no idea what that is), peanuts are played out, and I can’t ever pass up pickles, so the choice was easy. I tried to ask what specifically was pickled but my waitress wasn’t sure of the English word. It could have just been cucumbers finely sliced. Regardless, I enjoyed the sour bits, especially as an accompaniment to the congee.

“Special Wrap” sounded fun and cheap enough to order ($2). It ended up being Mei Fun noodles wrapped in a thin sheet of fried dough. It didn’t have a huge flavor, but was more about the pleasing texture  of the crunchy outside and stringy filling.

My favorite snack of the meal was steamed rice ball with pork ($4 for 10). It is kind of a similar idea to the meatball dumping at Empress Garden, except in mini form. Sticky balls made of rice flour dough contain a cylinder of pork meat. The pork meat had the most flavor of anything I tried.  The texture of the rice flour, might not be for everyone. But I enjoyed the way the paste- like dough encapsulated the meat. If you ate Elmer’s glue as a kid, definitely order this.

Some friends of mine had once told me about the food they had here and it sounded very different, but when I asked if there was a new menu the waitress said it wasn’t. A link to the menu online shows a far different menu from the one I found. I really have no idea what that is about, but I included a photo of that one page paper menu I was given so you know what to expect when you go.

Old Menu

New Menu:

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Lots of new snacks for cheap
  • Any unfamiliar items are cheap enough to just go for it

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Some dishes do not have enough flavor on their own, and require a soy sauce boost
  • I do not like ordering unfamiliar things

Happy Restaurant, 906 Arch Street, 215 922-5588


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