One of the really nice things about Amherst Chinese is that the owner also runs a farm so the restaurant has access to fresh and seasonal greens – I have waxed on about their Pea Green and Shrimp dumplings previously. One of the difficulties with Amherst Chinese is that lately the cooking has been a little hit or miss. When the cooking is good the food is excellent, but lately the vegetables have been overcooked and I recently got some very poorly mixed, clumpy Singapore Chow Mai Fun. But luckily the variability in the cooking doesn’t often affect the dumplings.
The Dumplings: At the moment they have Fiddlehead Fern and Pork dumplings available as a seasonal dumpling. A fiddlehead is the frond of young fern and the frond is curled in upon itself like the head of a violin. Wikipedia says that fiddlehead ferns are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, iron and fiber.
The dumplings were primarily filled with chopped fiddleheads with a smaller amount of pork mixed in, perhaps a third pork by volume. They tasted fairly bland to me, perhaps not enough pork or not enough seasoning of the fiddleheads, and the dumplings were best eaten as a dipping sauce delivery vehicle. The dumplings were pan-fried on one side and then steam finished, but they were a little under pan-fried, the fried side of the dumplings wasn’t really golden brown or very crispy.
The Dipping Sauce: Given the variability in the cooking lately, the amazing dipping sauce is one of the major arguments for going to Amherst Chinese. The sauce has a huge ginger flavor, and there is a little sesame oil and rice vinegar mixed into the soy sauce that deliver smoky and tart notes. One of the best dipping sauces I have tried.
Location: Amherst Chinese is located close to the town green in Amherst, MA.