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THE DISH: Happy Valley Seafood Restaurant

Happy Valley Seafood Restaurant

5495 Jimmy Carter Blvd., Norcross

678-218-0888

Open since: March 2008

Location: Happy Valley is located off of the Jimmy Carter exit off Interstate 85 in the Oakbrook Square Shopping Center. The restaurant can be found on the far end of the strip mall.

ON THE MENU

Appetizers

• Salt and pepper calamari, $5

• Shrimp toast, $5

• Crab rangoon, $4.50

• Barbecue sparerib, $6

Dim sum

• Shark fin dumpling, $3.25

• Minced pork puff, $3.25

• Steamed tofu skin roll, $3.25

• Chive dumpling with pork, $3.27

Map

Happy Valley Seafood Restaurant

Happy Valley Seafood Restaurant

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays through Sundays

Atmosphere: When you walk through the double doors, you will immediately see large green plants and a wall of fish tanks filled with scaly aquatic creatures and hard-shelled crustaceans.

While waiting to be seated you will notice there are two large rooms: one main dining room and another used for banquets. The walls are adorned with Asian decorations glistening in gold and massive glass chandeliers hang overhead.

The main dining room has a number of round tables with lazy susans in the middle to share food with the others at your table.

Dim sum, typically Asian appetizers, is served daily and servers walk throughout the eatery pushing carts with a variety of the small snacks. If you want a container of food, you must stop the server, pick a dish and give them your "punch card" to mark off what you ordered. That is how dim sum restaurants keep track of what you've eaten.

Want more? Wave down another server for more food. This may seem rude in the American culture, but this is quite normal for the Asian community.

It can also be a very loud place when the dining room is full with folks chowing down on dim sum. People will sit at the tables for hours eating on the tiny dumplings and catching up with friends and family.

When you are ready for your check, ask your server for it. He will not give it to you because that would be impolite -- he doesn't want to make you feel like he's kicking you out of the restaurant.

Menu: The menu is in depth with an eclectic mix of food -- everything from General Tso's chicken to chicken feet. There is a list for the dim sum items, but Happy Valley also offers lunch and dinner plates that are served with a chicken wing, spring roll and choice of soup.

Most things are cooked Hong Kong style with the highest quality ingredients and are made from scratch -- not "machine made." Each dumpling is hand crimped, steamed and packaged in small containers.

The restaurant serves four different loose-leaf teas with the green tea being the most popular. The tea is used to cleanse the palate in between bites.

There is also a dessert menu, but if you want the chocolate pudding, you will have to ask for it. It's not on the menu.

Things you might not know: On Sundays, some diners drive from Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee to eat the dim sum at Happy Valley.