The atrocious Zen in Northampton MA (reviewed here) finally closed and in short order was replaced by Oriental Taste, which is brought to us by the same guys who own Oriental Flavor in Amherst, MA. I previously proclaimed Oriental Flavor to be the best Chinese Restaurant in the Pioneer Valley, and the guys have ported their menu over to Oriental Taste. I think both Oriental Flavor and Oriental Taste are kind of painful names for Chinese restaurants, so I have been referring to them respectively as OF and OT. Both restaurants have a Dim Sum menu and steer away from American-Chinese dishes and focus on more authentic Chinese styles. Since Zen had a sushi counter, OT has added sushi to its menu, not sure if I approve of this, but those counters are expensive and OT seems to be making the most of it.
For my inaugural visit to OT I tried the pan-fried vegetable dumplings, which are filled with the same, or very similar, filling as the steamed vegetable dumplings at OF, but the green spinach wrappers are center pleated and the dumplings have a mouse shape. The filling seems to a mince of pressed tofu, bok choy, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and glass noodles and is just as good in the pan-fried version as in the steamed version at OF. These dumplings are vegan.
I am really psyched to see the guys behind OF expanding and bringing their more traditional style Chinese dishes to additional towns in the Pioneer Valley.