Bites: A selection of the best Chinese restaurants

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Aroma II, 118 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2 (0171-437 0370). Mon-Sat noon-11.30pm, Sun noon-10.30pm. One of the newer arrivals in Chinatown has the edge over others. Northern Chinese and Schezuan dishes join the usual Cantonese line-up, and the dim sum is more Beijing style. On Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes there are demonstrations of noodle-making. Dinner's around pounds 20. New Year specialities such as pig's trotter, dried oysters and tree mushrooms may be available. Expect to queue tomorrow; book ahead at other times.

Aroma II, 118 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2 (0171-437 0370). Mon-Sat noon-11.30pm, Sun noon-10.30pm. One of the newer arrivals in Chinatown has the edge over others. Northern Chinese and Schezuan dishes join the usual Cantonese line-up, and the dim sum is more Beijing style. On Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes there are demonstrations of noodle-making. Dinner's around pounds 20. New Year specialities such as pig's trotter, dried oysters and tree mushrooms may be available. Expect to queue tomorrow; book ahead at other times.

Loon Fung, 2 Warriston Place, Edinburgh (0131-556 1781). Mon-Thur noon- 11.30pm, Fri noon-12.30am, Sat 2pm-12.30am, Sun 2pm-midnight. Fun is a factor at one of Edinburgh's longest-serving, best-loved and busiest Cantonese joints. Its reputation, especially for dim sum during the day and seafood at night, keeps the place packed. It's closing for a New Year holiday tomorrow, reopening Thursday. Typically pounds 15-pounds 20 a head.

Mandarin Kitchen, 14-16 Queensway, London W2 (0171-727 9012). Daily noon-11.30pm. Neither the bright but basic interior, nor the brusque service give away much about the excellence of the food at this large off-Chinatown joint. The fact that it's always packed and that there's often a queue, despite the many seats, does. Seafood is the speciality, above all lobster and crabs but also try the razor clams. Not much offal on offer and no dim sum. pounds 20-pounds 25 a head.

Maxi's, 6 Bingley Street, Leeds (0113 2440552). Daily noon-midnight. Last year this begat a branch in York after a decade consolidating its position as Leeds' most impressive Cantonese. A large room, extensive menu and long opening hours; chefs rotate and standards can vary, although the dim sum served from noon until 6pm is always tip top, and the rest is rarely a flop. Business as usual this weekend but there's a celebratory dinner on Monday night for pounds 28 a head; otherwise pounds 20 and up.

Shanghai Cottage, Market Square, Petworth, West Sussex (01798 343949). Dinner Mon-Sat. Run by a former classical musician from Shanghai. A Chinese- speaking American friend recommends it as some of the best Chinese food in the south of England. The Shanghai style is sweeter and oilier than Cantonese and, though the usual familiar crowd-pleasers are here, specialities also include crispy bean curd, and duck with ginger and spring onion, and the chef/patron Peter Deng will pull out the regional stops on request. pounds 15-pounds 20 plus drinks.

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