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Nov 29, 2013 07:51 PM

Oriental Flavors; Amherst Ma

We had a great early dinner at this place right near the wonderful Amhest Cinema.
I know it had been discussed here on a thread about authenticity; having never been to China I can't comment on that but it is the equal of many places I have eaten in Chinatowns in Boston, manhattan, and Queens.
The menu consists of all day all week Dim Sum as well as many soups, noodle bowls and other Chinese dishes.
We had several types of steamed dumplings, all quite different and delicious. We also had" nourishing soup mugs, actually larger than mugs containing duck, mushrooms, ginger and finding in a light but complex broth.turnip cakes and sesame balls were both excellent examples of their ilk. The garlic spinach was perfectand the rice well made and flavorful.
We were sad that we were just two prop leans could not order more; in fact we had to take half our meal home.
I have heard complaints of slow service; we were there at an off hour, and the service was fine and friendly as well as being helpful in explaining different dishes.
For less than 40 bucks for the two of us, with a great late night snack of leftovers, this was a great deal too.
We will go back, but not on a weeknight evening as I am sure it would be packed.

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  1. Hey magie! We meet again, not on the Berkshires board but the Pioneer Valley, where we live now.
    Yes, Oriental Flavor is a GREAT (fill in your own adjective, like fabulous or unexpected) newcomer to the Valley. We go for late breakfast, early or late lunch, still hope to get there at teatime! (No driving at night anymore.)
    And yes, two of us regret we can't eat more.
    Throw in Ginger Garden, two minutes west on Route 9, for restaurant stuff, and we two transplants are currently in heaven.
    I have fantasies about a meetup with you guys and mjoyous and friend. We need chowhound T-shirts so we'll know each other, though!

    8 Replies
    1. re: BerkshireTsarina

      Hi Tsarina and Maggie: read this review and was thinking that will have to be my next lunch stop when I'm over in the valley. Don't usually get further than S. Hadley, but O.F. sounds wonderful.
      Recently had a great lunch at Ocean Palace (?) in Albany, but that's another board.
      It would be delightful to find each other sometime.

      1. re: mjoyous

        I just moved to the Berkshires and so I'm stuck in the middle of the Albany area and Pioneer Valley. I would love to have some tips for Chinese take-out. Married to an old school fan so please no Szechuan menus. There are so many choices in the area but not much chatter. I am mainly interested in the area between Great Barrington and Pittsfield.

          1. re: magiesmom

            In Albany- Ala Shanghai and CCK are both good and have non-Szechuan stuff.

            1. re: faith

              CCK now is Ocean Palace, across Central Ave.and a little further towards downtown. Nicer looking spot, and I think even better. Worth the try, for sure.

      2. re: BerkshireTsarina

        I have had mixed experiences at Ginger Garden.

        1. re: magiesmom

          Me, too.
          So I've adapted some great advice I read in the NY Times food section a while back. Find a restaurant you like, some dishes you like, and order them. They know you, they welcome you, you're pretty certain of eating what you like.
          It's the opposite of the "novel, new, different" every time approach I used to take, and frankly --- it's been working out better for me.
          We like the whole ambiance at Ginger Garden. We get a really nice welcome. So we stick pretty closely to stuff we can count on. Maybe try something new once in a while to test it. The Hub likes chicken with black beans with extra black beans, and I like double sauteed pork. We make sure to have one or the other.
          And surprisingly (Chinese restaurants not being known for their desserts) GG has a dessert we really like, sticky mochi with sweet black sesame paste and steamed in banana leaves, which turns it green. So when that's what we want, that's where we go.

          1. re: BerkshireTsarina

            I haven't treed either of those dishes but will.
            I am looking for a good whole steamed fish; theirs is sometimes good and sometimes bland.

      3. I wanted to add another positive mention of this place. My husband and I stopped in on Saturday at about 11:30. We were on our way to start Christmas shopping (after dropping the kids off with my folks) and we wanted a "light snack". I remembered this post, so we went in. We stood in the little entryway, looking over the posted menus, when one of the servers beckoned us in...we couldn't turn her down! At 11:30, the place was about half full. By 12:15 or so, it was about 80% full. We ordered a pickled cabbage and pork noodle soup, pork dumplings (similar to Gyoza on japanese menus) and a seaweed salad. The soup was so flavorful...nice and salty (in a good way) and full of pork and cabbage). The dumplings were really tasty as well. The salad was okay, not very large and sort of boring. I enjoy the one at Osaka more. The Dim Sum looked really interesting and the next time we go, we will do that.
        Service was friendly and attentive, the place was spotless, the food was really good. It seemed a great value and a really nice addition to the Valley food scene!

        1 Reply
        1. re: saintp

          Another positive experience. Early Saturday evening after movie next door. Soup mugs excellent, flavorful and tasty duck. Only disappointment no black chicken mug. Had Dim Sum from the daily special menu. Shrimp, Turnip, Bean Curd and a Sesame Mung Bean. They were all high quality great flavors and fresh tasting. The Crispy Sesame mung was fantastic and had it as a sweet dessert. Excellent service quick to table from start to finish. The owner was quietly making sure it all went well in restaurant. It is BYOB. There were also many daily specials on a table card in addition to reg menu.

        2. We ate there with friends about three weeks ago. The food was good and the service friendly, but the spicy food was REALLY SPICY. One of our friends is Asian and used to hot peppers but even he couldn't eat the Ma Po Tofu. We had to mix tiny amounts with rice and veggies from another dish even to tolerate it. Another dish -- chicken with peppers? - was little fried nuggets of chicken (very tasty) on a bed of roasted little red chilis. That was also searing hot.

          So I recommend the place with the caveat that you dial the hot factor way, way, way down unless you are a capsicum fiend.