In a discussion about a SF Bay Area restaurant, one poster commented
"What I found to be intesting was the order the dishes came out.
Which led another to comment that soup is traditionaly served last in China.
To which another replied
"Well...maybe in Northern China. In Guangzhou, soup is usually served at the beginning of the meal. It is drunk as a beverage with the meal."
With a comment that ..
"Tea is not part of the meal so to speak in Southern China. My parnets did not premit water, tea or soda at home during the meal ... tea was to clear the dust from your mouth before starting the meal."
It goes on, here's the link ...
So ... are regional customs different? Why did this not filter down to U.S. restaurants ... or did it? I guess with broccoli beef ordering me it isn't something I'd pick up on.