While downtown, we decided to stop for lunch at one of the newer Chinese restaurants in Yaletown. The original plan was to go to Grand Chinese on Hamilton street, but at the last minute we switched and went to the Happy Noodle House on Davie.
The small (seemingly family operated) restaurant is between Granville and Seymour Street, in the location previously occupied by “Sweet Mandarin”.
The menu seemed to cover a wide range of Chinese regional cuisines, but everyone else in the place seemed to be ordering the Shanghainese/Beijing influence dishes, so we went with the flow.
We started with the shanghai style stir fried noodles
These are hand pulled wheat noodles (they’re close cousins with Japanese udon noodles), stir fried in soy, sugar, thin threads of boneless chicken, and shredded cabbage. These were good noodles. They were al dente, and well seasoned, with a heavy garlic note (there was quite a bit of crushed garlic in the dish). This was probably the best dish of the meal.
Next was the xiao long bao
These are the classic steamed soup buns that I’ve discussed many times before. They are a thin wheat flour wrapper filled with a seasoned minced pork with an aspic of pork broth. The heat from steaming melts the aspic, turning it into a soupy broth inside the bun. The result is that the bun generates a satisfying squirt when you bite into it. These were good buns. The wrappers were thin, and the pork filling was meaty and savory. The aspic/broth was just okay. It lacked a certain depth that I have come to expect.
Lastly we had pan fried chicken dumplings
These are wheat flour wrappers stuffed with seasoned minced chicken and napa cabbage. The dumpling is seared on one side in a hot pan, and then doused with water, and the pan topped with a dome so that the dumplings steam. These dumplings were just okay. I found the wrappers a little on the thick and chewy side, and chicken had a pronounced ginger flavor. A little ginger is just good, but this was pretty strong.
Our server was fairly attentive and courteous (better than most Chinese restaurants).
The dining room is utilitarian and compact, probably only seats 30-40 but fortunately its spaced out comfortably.