Tea in a Cantonese dim sum restaurant is charged per head. Depending on the restaurant and the time you go, it may vary from HK$6 to 20 per person. There are many choices of tea. As for myself, I always ask for Pu Er. This is dark in color, very fragrant and strong in taste. It is very good to go along with food, as it will help digestion and melt off some of the fat in the food.
My Favourite Pu Er Tea 普洱
however less strong than Pu Er.
Xiang Pian Tea 香片
Xiang Pian Tea 香片
When we go 'yum cha' in a big crowd, we may order many pots of tea. The restaurant usually lable the tea pots so that we can easily identify our own favourite tea. Need to re-fill? Easy. Lift the lid as a signal and the waiter will come.
Lift the lid - Waiter will come add water for you
If you happen to go to a Chiu Chau restaurant, they may serve 'Kung Fu Tea' 功夫茶 without extra charge. However if you go during the economic hours like early morning or afternoon, they may not give you this little bonus. 'Kung Fu Tea' is just a nick name and it is actually Shui Xian 水仙 or Tie Guan Yin 鐵觀音 by tea type.
Chiu Chau restaurants usually serve it before and after meal in addition to the tea you order. They are finely prepared and Chiu Chau people usually treat their important guests with it.
'Kung Fu Tea' - Shui Xian 水仙
Almost all dim sum restaurants, including some medium to high end restaurants will serve you a big bowl and an extra pot of hot water for you to clean the utensils.
Isn't it funny or strange? But it happens as a custom. Restaurants won't treat this as a shame. I don't think I need to clean the cups and chopsticks myself, but as I'm being served that way, I just follow the rule of game. When did this custom start? I can't recall. Guests demanding for extra hygiene or restaurants offering extra service? Probably it's a matter of whether a hen or an egg exist first. Anyway, don't be shocked in a Hong Kong Chinese restaurant seeing guests doing their own cleaning work.
PS: I notice this 'cleaning' custom also happen in other areas of China, especially in restaurants serving visitors from Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Food Blog - Tea Culture in Hong Kong