Restaurant Question

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On a recent trip to HK I went to a couple different restaurants where they put a small dish of peanuts on the table after I had sitten down. I had not ordered these but a charge of $10.00 appeared on the bill. Is this normal or was I being taken advantage of?

Added charges at Chinese restaurants in HK

This is totally normal. You're also charged for the pot of tea.

Some expats try to make a point of arguing over these charges, i.e. they say they didn't order the tea (you're ususally just asked what kind you want; the possibility that you might not want any at all is not considered) or the peanuts or other little dishes of appetizers that usually appear on the table.

I've heard of people who have indeed gotten these charges dropped, but the whole scenario would likely have been marinated pretty heavily in ill will by the time this was agreed to by the waiter. I've never heard of a local HK person worrying about this.

I long ago gave up on the idea of arguing such charges myself; the law of diminishing returns kicks in far too quickly.

$10?? get a life

HK$10 is less than the average overseas waitperson demands as a tip so they can move from chatting with other staff to deign to serve you.

Besides, the peanuts and the tea are part and parcel of a fun meal.

Nuts

I totally agree with Gweipo.. It's all part of the meal. 10HK$ is less than £1GB so I never notice. The nuts are quite nice and I've become quite addicted to the tea. Looking forward to returning in November for some more.

Restaurant Charges

"small dish of peanuts on the table after I had sitten down".

It is either they want to speed up the time serving you since the nuts are considered a part of the meal, or there is a implied message that your presence got their attention so please don't stand up and leave. 

Restuarant charges

These local customs are not seen in other places.  In the past, only restaurants service non-Cantonese food serve you the peanuts and preserved vegatables.  Cantonese restaurants didn't but that was 30 years ago.  All restaurants charge you for tea per person and rice by the bowl, which is rather surprising for anyone used to Chinese restaurants from the US.