Canton, a port city, traffics in many foods, and the Cantonese cuisine at Happy Chef reflects this delicious diversity. Party-colored papers on the walls announce tank-fresh scallops, large-mouth fish, frog, and eel; we chose tiny, sweet shrimp (sold by weight), steamed delicately and perked up with jalapeño-laced soy sauce. We also enjoyed a clay pot of bony but delicious duck with hints of ginger, orange peel, and curry. Watercress in bean-curd sauce was bright green and very fresh, with a slight chile afterburn. Dim sum, closely associated with Canton, is served daily. And though Chinese cuisine is not known for desserts (sweets are treated like snacks on the mainland), a strong choice here is "crispy milk," the liquid frozen and cut into balls, then batter fried and arrayed with Cantonese simplicity around a bowl of sugar. Happy Chef is unlikely to win any interior design awards--the tablecloths are made of Hefty bag plastic, the china is chipped, the teapots cracked--but service is friendly and the adventurous menu rewards exploration.
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