Zen, Northampton MA, & Zen, Shanghai, Gyoza.

Zen is a pan-Asian restaurant in Northampton, MA and serves, at best, mediocre food.  The gyoza there appear to be frozen and then microwaved. I have eaten dumplings there twice and on both occasions some of the gyoza were still chilled on the inside.  The strange thing is, I have been to a restaurant in Shanghai called Zen, that had a very similar logo and signage and similarly mediocre food.

Zen Shanghai is part of the Zen International Group that has restaurants in several international cities. It doesn’t appear that Zen Northampton, is part of the chain, they just seem to have borrowed the logo. Zen Shanghai is in the Xintiandi neighborhood, which is a car free shopping, eating and entertainment district.  Xintiandi is sort of a theme park entertainment area, that is composed of reconstituted traditional Shanghai style houses called Shikumen.  The Shikumen architectural style blended Western and Chinese influences and was typified by rows of homes along narrow alleys, each with a small front yard enclosed with tall walls.  Zen Shanghai focuses more on decor than food and, similar to Zen Northampton, serves weak dumplings.

The Dumplings: Gyoza style, that appear to be frozen and then microwaved.

The Dipping Sauce: It doesn’t matter.

Location:  Zen Northampton, Main Street, Northampton MA.

Zen Shanghai, Xintiandi, off Xingye Lu road.  Xintiandi is near the #1 metro line stop at South Huangpi Road.

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