by Mary Beth Laraway Conlee
The Happy Garden Chinese Restaurant on Susanville’s Main Street might be an auspicious place to take Mom this Mother’s Day. Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, the service of the restaurant is impressive. Every time we arrive, we are immediately welcomed.
Dinners start with edamame soy beans : delicious popped straight out of the pods, or with a little hot mustard sauce. As one of Happy Garden’s “on the house” items, it is a special treat. A wide variety of teas can be served with dinner: from herbal or decaffeinated green teas (jasmine is my favorite), to more traditional oolong or black teas. Dessert of pineapple, orange, and raspberry sherbet follows the meal, along with the ubiquitous fortune cookie. This rounds out the “on the house ” items.
The owner, Margaret Wang, has been catering to her dining public in this location for two years. The decor is Chinese traditional meets American modern garden party. The portions of food are generous and very reasonably priced. We have never gone away hungry or without a doggy bag.
Rice can be found in white or brown varieties. MSG is never used. Special food needs are happily catered to. Wheat-free soy sauce or white sauce is available, and many items on the menu are unbreaded.
We started with appetizers of tangy Teriyaki Beef marinated in hoisin sauce and served with a mini hibachi at the table. We got right into the mood of the meal with this one. Steamed dumplings or “chashao bao” were filled with barbecued pork, but can also have shrimp, tofu, or vegetable stuffing. Soup for my husband was his favorite Hot and Sour. My egg flour soup was creamy with contrasting textures of carrots, peas, and corn. His sweet-sour pork with spring roll, noodles and rice hit that sweet-tooth spot. My chicken breast Lettuce Wrap can also be had with other meats or vegetarian filling. The crispy organic iceberg lettuce makes a nice textural and temperature contrast with the filling.
Photos By: Mary Beth Laraway Conlee
Enjoy your meal. Happy Gardening!