Right off the bat I’m branching out and reaching a restaurant outside of the city of Rochester. Just off of Highway 14, tucked into a little strip mall in Byron is a gem of a restaurant. If you enjoy Chinese food, there’s every reason to try Happy China.
This is far from the first time I’ve had Happy China and I can guarantee it’ll be far from the last. However, this trip was a little bit peculiar.
After a long day, the last thing I wanted to do was put any effort into preparing a meal, so I think, “Hmmm. Driving doesn’t take much effort. I’ll hop in the car and make the quick trip to Byron.” So I dial the phone and order Szechuan Pork, Fried Rice, and Crab Rangoon.
Sidenote: Does anyone ever have an easy time saying “Szechuan”? I swear, I sound like a librarian trying to quiet a rowdy group of elementary students every time I order it. It comes out “shhheshhhh…. um…shhhhshhh-wan pork.” This instance was no different. It’s neither here nor there, just something I always struggle with.
Back to the order. Usually after placing my order, I expect to hear, “Ok, that’ll be ten minutes.” But this time was different. After she read the order back to me she said, “Ok, that’ll be… ah……….about 20 minutes.” Whoa–not only was I caught off guard, but it seemed as though the woman on the other end caught herself off guard. It must have been a busy day. This actually plays in my favor; I’m not in the mood to move fast on this day.
Once I get to the brick-and-mortar, the setting is the same as every other time I’ve been there. It smells the same (a good same I might add), you can see right back into the kitchen where the staff is working furiously to provide a top-notch product, and the same woman I spoke with is now on the phone taking another order. Despite the fast-pace behind the counter, there’s still a sense of coziness to the place. It’s a place I enjoy being.
Here’s one of the best parts. My three-piece order comes to a total less than $10. From past experience, I know there will be enough food for two meals (stay tuned to see if it actually happens). My food was ready right away when I walked in, so I pay, throw a few bucks in the tip jar, and I wave with a smile as I exit.
Now to the good part: the eating. I’m a very habitual eater and one of my habits is eating sides before the main dish. So naturally, I tear into the Crab Rangoon. Happy China has mastered the Crab Rangoon. There’s a perfect ratio of filling to bread, and the filling itself is so full of flavor I want to eat a dozen. Since I did have a little will power, I only ordered two, but you get my point.
Next is the shhhshhh-wan pork and fried rice. There’s no shortage of sauce on the main dish and there are quite a few vegetables mixed in with the meat (including those mini corn on the cobs which are just a gift to taste buds everywhere). The texture reaches near perfection when mixing some of the rice in with a bite of meat and vegetables with the sauce smothering it all. The taste is out of this world. It’s exactly what I needed for a lazy evening.
After my first bite, I’m already looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch the next day….
…Here comes the “but”. I must have been in such a state of bliss that I blacked out. After 10-15 minutes of engorging this insanely-good Chinese food, I look down and the final bite is on my fork. Oh well. As the brilliant wordsmith Britney Spears once said, “Oops! I did it again.” But despite my lack of self control, I’m satisfied.
While I don’t recommend eating the entire meal in one sitting, I do recommend Happy China. Any time you have a craving for Chinese, do yourself a favor and take the short trip to the little strip mall off of Highway 14 in Byron. It’s affordable and the people there are incredibly welcoming and nice. Plus, your food will most likely be done when you get there, because it only takes (usually) 10 minutes.
Be happy, eat happy, and remember the good in everything you consume.