Guangzhou Restaurant Review: Happy Wait

By Matthew Bossons, December 2, 2019

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The Place

Open for two months on Meiyuan Xi Lu, an up and coming street running from near Fenghuang Xincun Metro Station towards Taigucang Wharf, Happy Wait has an unquestionably silly name. In all fairness, ‘Happy Wait’ seems to be an approximate translation of the restaurant’s Chinese name, Deng De Xi, but it doesn’t change the fact it’s a bizarre moniker (who the hell is going to be happy about waiting at an F&B venue?).

Image by Matthew Bossons/That’s

What the restaurant lacks in creative branding, however, it makes up for with hospitable service, tasty eats and a clean, eclectically designed interior. Inside, you’ll notice a large colorful mural on the back wall, an artistic choice that contrasts mightily with the other interior walls, which are predominantly gray. There’s also a mini arcade machine, a jumbo teddy bear, neon signage and even four seemingly out-of-place car tires stacked near the restroom.

You’ll find a small patio area outside, but, since we are heading into the winter months, you may want to snag a spot inside.

The Food

Image by Matthew Bossons/That’s

When we walk by on a cool November evening, a sign outside Happy Wait proudly promotes what we initially think are lobster rolls. It turns out we’re wrong, though, and that the seafood stuffed inside the buns on the advertisement is actually shrimp. The eatery serves two different styles of shrimp rolls, one made with a punchy garlic sauce (RMB23) and the other with a Sichuan-style mala sauce (RMB19). We decide to order one of each.

Both sandwiches arrive in crunchy, toasted baguettes and are damn near 30 centimeters in length. Unfortunately, the amount of shrimp in each roll leaves something to be desired.

The Sichuan-style shrimp roll lives up to its name, numbing our mouths with a lingering heat that has us reaching for the drink menu (at RMB15, we recommend the delicious passionfruit lemon tea). Our favorite of the two sandwiches, though, is definitely the garlic shrimp roll.

Image by Matthew Bossons/That’s

Much like the interior design, the menu here is all over the place, and features everything from hot pot to sizzling, spicy pepper-strewn meat dishes. We order the mala zhe ji (RMB88), a dish of chicken bits, peppercorns, spicy peppers, garlic and onions. When it arrives at our table, our server pours a clear oil over the edibles and sets them alight. It’s a hell of a show, and the tender – albeit zesty – morsels of chicken are cooked to perfection in the process. 

Image by Matthew Bossons/That’s

For those not interested in lemon tea, Happy Wait does offer a limited selection of bottled beer, including 1664, Corona and Blue Girl (RMB12-18).

The Vibe

Image by Matthew Bossons/That’s

Happy Wait is pretty much as casual as it gets, and that’s okay – it’s not pretending to be anything that it isn’t. In conclusion, we reckon this spot is a decent destination for folks who are living in the neighborhood and looking for reasonably priced spicy edibles. Is it family and kid friendly? Absolutely. Would we recommend this shop for an important date or dinner meeting? Probably not.

Price: RMB100
Who’s going: local families, spice fiends
Good for: spicy shrimp rolls, cheap beer
Nearest metro: Fenghuang Xincun (Exit A), 7 minutes’ walk

Open daily, 11am-10.30pm; see listing for Happy Wait.

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