A POPULAR Asian restaurant in Chester has been awarded Best Buffet at the prestigious Asian Restaurant Awards (ARA) 2023.

Panda Mami, based on Newgate Street in Chester, took home its third Best Buffet award at a glittering gala dinner hosted by BBC news anchor Samantha Simonds and held at the Hilton Manchester Picadilly on Monday, July 31.

Panda Mami also has locations in York, Nottingham and its sister restaurant, Sushi Mami, in Manchester took home the Best Japanese award.

The ARA is open to a range of Asian cuisines including: Bangladeshi, Burmese, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, Pakistani, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese, the awards recognise the best restaurants from across the UK.

Awards were presented by Sir Graham Brady, MP, Chairman of the 1922 Committee.

Chester and District Standard: Panda Mami accept the Best Buffet awards at the Asian Restaurant Awards.Panda Mami accept the Best Buffet awards at the Asian Restaurant Awards. (Image: Asian Restaurant Awards)

The Asian restaurant industry employs over 100,000 people throughout the UK and is estimated to contribute more than £7 billion to the economy.

Addressing an audience of more than 500 of the country’s leading Asian restaurant owners, chefs and local dignitaries - awards organiser, Yawar Khan, Chairman of the Asian Catering Federation (ACF), praised the industry’s response in adapt to "fresh culinary ideas" and their "willingness to embrace the more discerning needs of the public."

Top national awards went to – Mahdu's, Best Group; Shabhir Hussain, Akbar Group, Curry King; Mekong, Panda Mami, in Chester and York won the awards for Best Buffet, Babul's in Barnard Castle won the award for Innovation.

The awards for Fine Dining went to the Michelin-starred Quilon in London and Raval in Gateshead, Newcastle.

Newcomer of the Year Awards went to BKC, London and Peace Garden, Manchester.

Other regional awards went to Sushi Mami, Manchester, Best Japanese; Mekong, Derry, Northern Ireland, Best Vietnamese; Chef of the Year, Alomgir, Delhi 6, Newcastle; Kebabish Original, Blackburn, Casual Dining, Lala's, Leeds, Best Restaurant; Dilshad, Tyneside, Best Takeaway, Cook's Tale, Canterbury, Restaurant of the Year, South East of England; Navodaya, East of England; Purple Popadom, Wales.

The full list of regional winners can be viewed at www.asianrestaurantawards.org.