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Sep 11, 2006 06:35 PM

Northampton - Amherst Asian - What's Good, Whats Not??

OK Chowhounds Which Asain restaurants are really good? Which ones are to be avoided? Any really good Sichuan on the level of Grand Sichuan in Manhattan? Any really outrageous Thai? Am I asking/expecting to much? I know we are about 160 miles from Queens but is there anything that comes up to the mark?

I like the Korean restaurant on Rt 9 in Hadley and thought that although it's not 35th Street in Manhattan it would do just fine.

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  1. I had dinner at Ahmerst Chinese last weekend and it was the best chinese food I have ever had outside of NYC or Boston. Someone recomended a place in Florence to me last week, look for Mr breadpuudin's post about places to try in Ahmerst and Northampton.

    1. I looked up my own older post and the place recommended to me in Florence was Great Wall.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mr breadpuddin

        I had recommended Great Wall, but have yet to try Amherst Chinese. Both seem to share a desire to promote local farm products. My family is most impressed by Great Wall which has a varied, reasonably priced, and imaginative menu.

        The available Thai spots are pretty much cookie cutter standard issue. So much so that the menu looks like it has been published by central casting. Nothing comparable to Khao Sarn and Dok Buya in Brookline.

        AS for Sichuan and northern Chinese, there is nothing comparable to the variety of Boston restaurants such as the much lamented New Taste of Asia, Sichuan Cafe (name?)in Brookine, even Zoe's (Cambridge and now Brookline) which has its ups and downs, and Wangs (Somerville) which offers amazing dumplings. Not surprisingly we don't have much Chinese seafood either.

        Since we do have significant Asian-farmed agricultural produce, rather than lusting after the flesh-pots of Queens and Boston, I suggest Great Wall and Amherst Chinese to sample the local fresh grown vegetables. That is the kind of product more difficult to find in big cities.

        No Vietnamese in the area.

        Given the significant Cambodian and Laotian population, it is surprising that Tofu Valley has no Cambodian or Laotian restos either.

        We do have a Tibetan, Lhasa Cafe (?) on Main St. in Noho. Worth a visit for the experience, but it is not my favorite.

        Far too many sushi bars. Osaka is the best of the lot. Would happily trade one or two for some Southeast Asian offerings.

      2. Yeah..I love the Great Wall in Florence. The Peking Duck (call 24 hours in advance) is as good as anything I've had in NYC. Stuffed tofu is wonderful, The steamed whole fish and pork in the style of south china is excellent. Greens are very authentic and fresh. The place is a treasure.
        Amherst Chinese is good too. Straight forward stuff but with vegetables raised on the Chang Farm nearby. Try the sandraberry juice.
        There is a good family run small Korean on Route 9 in Hadley but I can never remember the name.
        Whoever opens up a Vietnamese around here will make a mint!

        1. How generous, varied, and tasty are the panchen at the Korean on Rt. 9? How does it compare to the Korean food in the old Ichiban site next to the bus station in Noho? I don't particularly care for it.

          I have yet to find any Korean restos as good as the now defunct Matsuya on Mass Ave. in Cambridge.

          1 Reply
          1. re: VivreManger

            I second the Great Wall recommendation, and suggest that if you go there, you either order off the special gourmet menu or just throw yourself at the mercy of the hostess and ask her what's really good in the way of fresh veggies.

            I am not a huge fan of Amherst Chinese but I do love their sauteed greens and the house-made noodles, which have a homey quality you won't find outside of a major city's Chinatown.

            The Korean place on Route 9 is called Gohyang's. They keep raising their prices, but the quality of the food is high, it's consistently good, and there is a decent range on the menu. Their scallion pancake is a thing of beauty. Plus, the mom-and-pop owners are gracious and friendly--you really feel as if you're being taken care of.

            And yeah, I'd give everything single Thai restaurant in the Pioneeer Valley for one half-decent Vietnamese place.

          2. There are two recommended vietnamese restaurants in Springfield on Dickinson street. I have never been to PHO SAIGON which is the fancier of the two, but I love the one across the street, who's name I forget. Speaking of Thai food, I am completely ignorant of Thai food except for hippie style Thai curry. Am I missing something by not getting authentic stuff?, and if so where should I go ( I don't live in the valley, but I visit it frequently).