Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Free tea at restaurants

The other day I went to Nagoya, the next city for a classical concert. I had my favorite lunch at Moriguchiya, a pickles shop again, which I have introduced before >>> Unique lunch at a Japanese pickles shop

The tea served at the restaurant was hojicha. I realize that this might be very unique culture of Japan. Tea served with meal at restaurants is usually for free. I don’t remember if I have mentioned about this topic before in this blog. The tea is usually reasonable tea, such as hojicha or bancha, or sometimes genmaicha. Refills are also for free. You can drink as much as you want … for free. Isn’t it great? I’m not talking about a special service at a few minority restaurants. Many restaurants in Japan serve free teas. I guess it is a kind of Japanese omotenashi, hospitality.

I’m not sure if free tea or free coffee is served at restaurants in other countries, but I haven’t heard about it. Maybe free wine in France? Well, I doubt it (^^;; I thought serving tea for free at restaurants is an interesting culture, and it tells how much we love green tea. Hojicha, bancha and genmaicha are very popular tea in Japan. I’m sure that if you visit Japan, you might have a chance to try any of them.


  1. No free wine in french restaurants I am afraid... nor tea, nor coffee. But free bread with your meal.

    I have always appreciated japanese hospitality. And I like the free tea, even if it is bancha. ;-)

  2. Oh, free bread! That’s nice, or even better! You are right. You reminded me that French restaurants in Japan also offer free brad ヽ(^。^)ノ

  3. I really love japanese food, but I like to go at least once in a french restaurant when I am in Japan. French food made by japanese cooks is really something great, a good mix of two great cooking styles.

  4. Hello - I have fallen in love with Japanese green tea recently and cannot get through a day without it now. Your site is a godsend - I have been reading like a student, trying to catch up on something so good that I have missed out on! Here in Singapore, Japanese and Chinese restaurants almost always serve free tea, especially Japanese restaurants. Many western restaurants also serve free bread too, but wine never :D Thank you for all the research you do - I have found it so helpful!

  5. Konnichwa, dana-san, Thank you for your comment. I’m so flattered. Oh, Japanese restaurants in Singapore also serve free tea? That’s interesting to learn!

  6. Chinese restaurants in the USA do this too.
    At least one Japanese restaurant in the USA did this. I am used to the server just pouring hot water over tea leaves that were previously used, but I got a new teapot.