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Happy Family

Happy Family
Happy Family pictures (2 of 4)

I was first introduced to Happy Family during my college days. I was in graduate school, back in the Midwest, and not quite cooking up a storm like I am doing now. So, hitting local Chinese buffets and take-outs was a good place to be for someone like me who misses their Chinese food. It was also then that I got acquainted to all the popular American-Chinese food selections. I was mostly intrigued by the American version of Sweet and Sour Chicken, BBQ Ribs, Crab Rangoon, Egg Drop Soup, to name a few, and among these, Happy Family was one of them. Although spending a whopping US$13 (I was a poor international student then) for a large order of Happy Family with white rice on the side seemed hefty for a college student, my friends and I would usually save up to order a few items and share among ourselves, sometimes enough to last us for 3 days! Being so far from home, Chinese food—albeit the Americanized version—was always our comfort food.

I missed home dearly, particularly mom’s cooking. At the end of the day, mom always made sure we had a balanced meal. A typical family dine-in experience is usually served with dishes consisting of meat, vegetables and seafood of some sort. And that is exactly what the dish Happy Family is! It is a popular Chinese stir-fry dish with colorful vegetables (broccoli, water chestnuts, baby corn, bamboo shoots, mushroom, carrots, etc.), meats (beef, pork/BBQ Pork and chicken) and seafood (shrimp, lobster/crab meat and scallops) cooked in a simple brown sauce.

Happy Family

I don’t think I have ever encountered any dish quite like Happy Family. It’s a great one-pot meal filled with goodness and taste! In my book, Happy Family is one of those delicious guilt-free happy meals that symbolizes a well-balanced Chinese dish and an American-Chinese creation that I actually enjoy.

What is your favorite American-Chinese dish?

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16 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Andrew

    Omg, reminds me of the college days in the midwest and Chinese buffets on the weekends…so happy back then to eat Chinese food, all your can eat.

  2. Charlotte Stout

    Please, please give us more Chinese American dishes. Love this site & your recipes are always so easy to make. Thanks!

    • Rasa Malaysia

      Thank you for your support, Charlotte. Will definitely keep those Chinese American dishes coming. What would be your favorite dish?

  3. Shirley Thien

    I loved most is Chop Suey with Chicken Fillet. And yes, I do missed the Chinese Buffet back in the States.

  4. MariaV

    Do you use this brown sauce in other dishes? This sounds good, but my husband doesn’t eat seafood and certain vegetables.

  5. MariaV

    I forgot to mention that my favorite changes periodically. My current favorites are: chicken with broccoli, beef with broccoli, or shrimp with broccoli. Sometimes I mix the three.

    • Rasa Malaysia

      Maria, this sounds like a balanced Happy Family in my book. Omit seafood if you don’t take it and as for the simple brown sauce, its pretty versatile. Use if for any type of Chinese stir-fry dishes as you wish, or a simply Lo Mein for a matter a fact. Enjoy!

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