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Happy Family: A Tasty Vegetarian Cuisine
Amy Wang

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MONTEREY PARK, Calif.—Usually I don't like buffets much because sometimes the dishes might be cold after sitting a while and sometimes the foods are not very tasty due to the lower prices.
An exception, Happy Family Vegetarian Restaurant's buffet, serves your food after you order and you can keep ordering anything from the buffet menu. The dining room is a square area, very brightly lit with mint green chairs, white tablecloths and dark green carpeting.

Well, the décor does not really make it a very romantic place, but come with a group of friends or family to sample as many of their dishes as possible.

For more than 15 years, Happy Family has been a local favorite and has retained its Chinese roots to the core. Most authentic Chinese restaurants don't put emphasis on the setting, just the food. So, this place is authentic, not some imitation of what Americans think Chinese food ought to be. None of the foods are smothered in heavy sauce. No egg in the dishes also qualifies them even to the strictest "vegan" vegetarians.

My party of three ordered 10 dishes that were all delicious. Ask which Chinese greens are in season when you go. We had stir-fry baby bean leaves, green mustard and spinach. They were very fresh and you could taste the natural sweetness in the vegetables.

My favorite dish was "Veggie Deep Fried House Chicken", which is mushrooms covered with flour and crisply deep-fried with a light sweet sauce. It was even better than real fried chicken. The mushrooms were so tender that I couldn't help swallowing it quickly, although it was very hot.

The "Veggie Squid with BBQ Sauce" surprised me too. The veggie squid which, looks and tastes like real squid is made from konjac jelly, a healthy high-fiber food made from tubers that are virtually calorie free. The squid was cooked with thin Chinese celery and with its BBQ sauce; the authentic taste was a real comfort food for me.

After I stuffed myself silly, I realized why the restaurant is called Happy Family. It is a good idea to bring your entire family there and make them happy with these hearty and healthy vegetarian foods. It is a restaurant that helps solve the nagging problem of finding food that suits every taste and inclination. You will be happy by the price too -$10.75 for the all you can eat buffet. Unfortunately, there is no buffet during the weekday lunch.

Happy Family Vegetarian Restaurant
608 N. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 282-8986
Hours: Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. lunch,
5:00 to 8:45 p.m. dinner
Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. lunch,
5:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. dinner
Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 9:15 p.m.
Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

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