Tea is an important part of many Asian cultures. Each country and even region have its own practices about when and why they consume tea. Since much of the world’s teas come from Asia, it’s no surprise you’ll see an abundance of teas on the menu at various Asian restaurants around the world, especially in Asia.
If you’re traveling to Asia and are curious about the tea offerings you’ll find at restaurants, you’re not alone. Each restaurant is different, and the types of teas you’ll see on the menu will vary from place to place.
While the teas might vary, there are a few that are very common in restaurants. Here are the different kinds of tea served in restaurants.
What Kind of Tea Is Served in Chinese Restaurants?
Chinese restaurants always have tea on the menu. Many restaurants have a variety, but there are three teas that you’ll almost always see on the menu regardless of where the Chinese restaurant is.
There’s a good chance you’ve never heard this tea’s name, but if you’ve dined at a higher-end Asian restaurant, you’ve probably tried it. Pu-erh tea has a deep red color and is sometimes called boo-lay tea. It’s perfect with desserts and other sweet dishes like sweet and sour chicken. It has an Earthy and almost buttery taste that practically all tea drinkers appreciate.
Chinese restaurants love to serve Oolong tea because it’s delicious and popular. It’s somewhere in between black and green tea that has an Earthy flavor. You can choose to drink the tea with your meal or wait until the end to order it. If served at the end of the meal, you can add sugar and milk to make it sweeter and more like a dessert.
Green Tea With Jasmine
Green tea is one of the most common teas in any Asian restaurant, especially in Chinese restaurants. It’s a delicious tea that has a great flavor, but you’ll commonly see them serving it with jasmine. It adds a unique flavor profile that compliments almost everything on the menu and is a great palate cleanser when your meal is over. The jasmine flavor is solid and vibrant.
What Kind of Tea Is Served in Japanese Restaurants?
Tea in Japanese restaurants is abundant. There are several types of tea you’ll commonly see on the menu at Japanese restaurants.
Sencha is a green tea and the most common of all green teas. This tea has plenty of caffeine and isn’t usually one they’ll recommend for people later at night, but after the meal during the day or during the meal. There are many types of sencha, and many restaurants will shop around to find one that matches the restaurant’s ambiance.
If you’re at a Japanese restaurant, specifically a sushi restaurant, you’ll see konacha tea on the menu. It’s a thicker tea that tastes more full-bodied than sencha, another green tea. It’s usually a tea that restaurants will bring to your table for free because it goes with every meal and is affordable to give away. It’s excellent for clearing the oil from your mouth between bites of sushi.
Genmaicha is another green tea that’s common in Japanese restaurants. It’s a unique combination of sencha tea leaves and toasted rice. It has a nutty aroma that you can smell from tables away at the restaurant. It has a lower caffeine content and is perfect when feasting on sushi or any fatty fish dish. It’s ideal for lighter meals since it can quickly fill your stomach.
Hojicha is another green tea but what makes it different is the roasted tea leaves that give it its unique flavor. It’s popular in the Kansai and Kyoto regions, but you can find it in other areas too. It’s an easy-to-brew green tea and is low in caffeine. It’s perfect throughout the day and even at dinner time, thanks to the low caffeine content.
Bancha is a green tea that’s typical for people to drink every day. It’s used to make hojicha, and it’s very affordable compared to other green teas, which is why restaurants tend to go with this option. You’ll also find it in many bottled teas. It has a refreshing taste and is the perfect after-meal tea, even at dinner, thanks to the low caffeine content.
Gyokuro is a tea that’s typically at a higher-end restaurant in Japan, but you can find it at other restaurants, too, depending on where you’re at. It’s a premium green tea that requires shade three weeks before harvest, contributing to a delicious flavor you don’t get with all other green teas. It’s sweet but not overly sweet.
What Kind of Tea Is Served in Korean Restaurants?
Korean restaurants will serve a variety of teas, but there’s one you’ll find in pretty much every Korean restaurant.
Roasted Barley Tea
Roasted barley tea is the most common tea in Korea. You can enjoy it hot and cold, and even though it’s mainly in restaurants, you’ll find it in Korean homes too. It’s a type of tea that Koreans drink daily. It has a nutty flavor that can change depending on how much barley is used. It can even taste like coffee when steeped for too long.
What Kind of Tea Is Served in Thai Restaurants?
Every Thai restaurant serves tea, but only one is incredibly common throughout all Thai restaurants.
Ceylon tea is commonly known as Thai tea because it’s the most common type of tea that Thai people drink, and you’ll find it in Thai restaurants. You can drink it hot or cold, which tastes delicious with all Thai food. It’s more of an oolong tea that has ginger notes.
There are thousands of teas out there, and every restaurant is different, but the teas we mentioned above are the most popular ones you’ll see in various restaurants. Regardless of the type of restaurant, ordering a delicious cup of tea is always a delightful idea.