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"Coffee or Tea" does not mean coffee or tea only

“Tea Restaurant” (茶餐廳) is a type of local restaurants which people love to visit. Their food is always cheap and tastes good. You may find Chinese BBQ, Wonton Noodles, or even westernised style of food like spaghetti (but many of them are in Chinese taste indeed) etc. Since they picked up some western cuisine elements, if you order the set menu they will usually offer “coffee or tea”. Actually this “coffee or tea” covers more than coffee and tea.

Milk tea

Brought by the British, Hong Kong style milk tea does not have milk. We use evaporated milk instead. That’s why the taste is different from the British one.


Hong Kong style of Coffee tastes very different from typical coffees like those from Starbucks. It has a stronger taste and is mixed with evaporated milk also. To make it taste smoother, some old tea restaurants would put egg shells and rum, sounds weird? It works though.

“Yuen Yeung”

Milk tea & coffee, or Coffee with tea. This type of beverage is originated from Hong Kong. Local Chinese people did not drink coffee or milk tea until the British people brought it here. It is believed that some Chinese workers started to mix coffee with tea. Then it was widespread within Hong Kong.

Ice tea/ lemon tea

Tea restaurants use blended black tea leaves, mainly Ceylon tea, to make lemon tea.

Lemon water Very simple, lemon slices and water.


If you are not familiar with this powdered drink invented by the British, this is a malted milk drink which is supposed to serve as hot drinks. It was more popular in the 90s when there were much more advertisements.


Another malt extract drink with cocoa and milk flavour. Similar to Horlicks, it was brought to Hong Kong by Europeans. It was much more popular back in the 90s but still most of the tea restaurants serve it now.

Note - Served iced or hot?

All these drinks above can be served hot or cold. There is usually an extra charge of cold drink for around 2 or 3 dollars depending on the restaurants. For iced drinks, you can choose "less ice" (pronunciation in Cantonese: "Siu Bing").

Note - how sweet

In normal cases, the restaurant would add syrup inside cold drinks. Therefore you can tell them less sugar (pronunciation in Cantonese: "Siu Team") or even no sugar (pronunciation in Cantonese: "Jao Team") when you make the order.


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