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In some quarters it’s become almost knee-jerk to denigrate Yokohama’s Chinatown. Too clean and tidy, they sneer, it feels like a theme park. It’s just for tourists. And, the most serious charge of all, the food just isn’t authentic. To which the Food File would retort: Perhaps so; not necessarily; and that depends on where you eat.

The twin peaks of top-flight dining in Chinatown are Manchirou and Heichinrou. There’s very little to choose between them, either in terms of their elegant Cantonese cooking, their unashamedly lavish hotel-lobby decor, or the impersonal smoothness of their well-greased operations. If we tend to favor the latter, it is because of the bold declaration on the menu that says Heichinrou shuns the use of MSG and artificial additives.

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