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There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and eateries on Xi Jie but most have the same tired menu offering the usual copycat Western and local dishes. Unfortunately, such alfresco dining is also a lot less fun now that customers are incessantly harassed mid bite by overeager vendors (selling everything from postcards to memory cards) or would-be English practitioners offering their services as tour guides.

On the plus side, Yangshuo still abounds with great cafe food if you choose the right places. The Karst Cafe, Xianqian Jie 42 (tel. 0773/882-8482) still hangs onto the title of best pizza in town, with a bacon, egg, and blue cheese creation. In addition, the enormous "Full Monty" takes the award for largest breakfast in town. Just a little farther up the street, the Fresh Juice, Xianqian Jie 51 (tel. 0773/882-1993) has some fantastically imaginative combinations such as snow pear and passion fruit, and kiwi and strawberry. At the corner of West Street and Xianqian Jie, Cafe China's (tel. 0773/882-7744) rooftop is one of the best locations in town, with excellent mountain views. Local specialties such as delicious pijiu yu (fish cooked in beer and spices) and baochao tianluo (Li River snails stuffed with pork) are extremely reliable here, but it might be wise to book a table in advance as this is the number-one choice for Western tour groups. Rock and Grill, Xian Qian Jie 2 (tel. 0773/881-9178; www.yangshuoholiday.net), outside the municipal government, has an interesting menu of dishes that are a definite step up from the usual cafe food fare. Their New Zealand chef shows a lot more creativity than most, and their outdoor terrace is a great place to while away the evenings. Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant (An Xiang Su Ying Su Cai Guan), Diecui Lu 7 (tel. 0773/881-9079; www.yangshuomagnolia.com/pure_lotus01en.htm) is a very reliable dining experience, and apart from the relaxing ambience, we really enjoyed the almond roll (shi su xing ren quan), the taro and egg yolk balls (li yu dan huang wan), and the sweet-and-sour eggplant (tang chu qie gua).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.