If you go for dim
sum lunch, whether of your own accord or involuntarily,
you might want to know the drill.
- Getting the table
Getting a table for your party could be a challenge especially
in popular restaurants. But fear not, many of them take reservations.
However, some don't let you take the table until your whole
party is there.
If you don't have a reservation, at most restaurants you
can get in the table line. A ticket with a number and your
party size would be handed to you. Sorry, it's rare that a
restaurant takes your cell number to notify you when your
table is ready. Rarer yet is a pager for you to carry around.
For some restaurants if you miss the announcement of your
number by 5 (or whatever), you lose your spot in the table
- The table itself
In some dim-sum restaurants, usually the cheaper ones, if your
party is not big enough to take up a whole table, you are expected
to share with other guests - just the table, not the food. And
the city ettiquette is not to make eye contact with these strangers.
But then you can still check out what they're ordering. Not
a bad set up if you're new at ordering
Other than the more expensive restaurants, tables are usually
very close to one another, sometimes so close that the chairs
from adjacent tables have to fit together like
in a jigsaw puzzle. Hey, in Hong Kong, space is expensive!
Once you sit down or as you're doing it, the waiter asks you
what tea you would like - after all, drinking tea is the primary
activity there. The locals all know what they want and I've
never seen any printed list for you to choose from. The typical
ones include Jesmine ("heung pin" in Cantonese), "sau
may" (very dark), "tid goon yum", "po lay", etc. You can
also ask for an extra pot of just hot water, to thin out your
tea if it gets too strong, and for another purpose...