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The Sky Lounge at Sheraton Hong Kong is serving its first collaborative afternoon tea set with Melvita with 10 dainty nature–inspired sweet and savoury delights. Upgrade to a glass of Champagne, Moscato Rosé. or Bottega Prosecco Gold Brut!
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Afternoon tea in Hong Kong is a time-honoured tradition. But it should not be confused with “drinking tea”, which – in Cantonese – means eating dim sum.
This is because dim sum is traditionally washed down with tea. In fact, the first question a waiter at a Cantonese tea house will usually ask you after you sit down is, “What kind of tea do you want to drink?”
The tea is drunk plain. Neither sugar nor milk nor lemon is added.
Traditionally, waitresses pushed carts around the tea houses with different types of dim sum piled on top.
They would call out their wares. And if you wanted something, they would serve it to you.
However, in recent years, the trend has been for diners to order dim sum from menus. Often you are handed a piece of paper. And you tick off what you want and hand it back.
While it’s not as much fun, the dim sum tends to be fresh from the kitchen.
If drinking tea is a Chinese tradition, afternoon tea has its roots in Britain. Nonetheless, it is as popular in Hong Kong as it is in the British Isles.
Essentially, afternoon tea is a light meal served in the late afternoon. Many mass-market cafes and chain restaurants serve set teas between lunch and dinner.
In fact, they are nothing more than a bid to put bums on seats in the off hours! But prices tend to be heavily discounted. So they can be a great way to save money by having a late lunch or an early dinner.
But afternoon tea can also be a highly sophisticated affair. And this is especially true at Hong Kong’s five-star hotels.
Small sandwiches, cakes, and pastries are served on a tiered stand. Guests can usually choose between tea, coffee, and cocktails. Champagne is also popular as classier establishments.
Typical Afternoon Tea Menus
Hotels serving afternoon tea frequently change menus in order to keep foodies coming back.
Typically, they change menus once every season, with menus reflecting changes in the weather. Thus summer menus tend to be lighter, and winter menus heartier.
But some tea rooms change menus every other month. And a few change them monthly.
In addition, they will frequently serve special afternoon sets in conjunctions with holidays or festivals. For example, you can expect special menus on Christmas Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day.
Examples from a seasonal menu: summer savouries served at the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers Summer Eden Breeze Champagne Afternoon Tea.
Examples from a seasonal menu: decadent summer sweets served at the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers Summer Eden Breeze Champagne Afternoon Tea.
Hong Kong’s Best Hotel Afternoon Teas
Many of Hong Kong’s best afternoon teas are served at five-star hotels, but there are exceptions.
And the most obvious exception is The Verandah at The Repulse Bay. While The Repulse Bay was originally a hotel, it was torn down a few decades ago and replaced by a massive apartment block.
The government forced developers to rebuild a replica of the hotel’s facade and other public spaces, which included The Verandah.
For my money, it’s the best spot to enjoy afternoon tea in Hong Kong. In fact, it drips with colonial charm.
I much prefer it to The Lobby at The Peninsula, which is run by the same company. While the menus are similar, The Verandah is more leisurely, more exclusive, and much less crowded.
I’ll give second place to the Sky Lounge at the Sheraton. It’s got one of the best views of Victoria Harbour.
For quiet sophistication, I like the Palm Court at The Langham Hotel. But you won’t go wrong with any of the other hotels serving afternoon tea on this list.
Top 10 List
- The Verandah – The Repulse Bay, 109 Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong
- Sky Lounge – Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers, 18/F, 20 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
- Palm Court – The Langham Hotel, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
- Lobby Lounge – Island Shangri-La, 6/F, Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Central, Hong Kong.
- The Lounge – Four Seasons, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong.
- The Lobby – The Peninsula Hong Kong, G/F, Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
- The Lounge and Bar – Ritz-Carlton, 102/F, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, No.1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
- Clipper Lounge – Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central, Hong Kong.
- The Butterfly Room – Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
- The Drawing Room – St. Regis Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
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