Matching Asian Food with Wine is not easy as Far-Eastern food is so different from Western Food, where most wines are produced. Colours, textures, flavours are so different from our Western references. This is the reason why I have put together this infographics explaining the 8 things to take into account to choose your wine for your Asian meal.
Matching Asian Food with Wine requires your to asses the 8 following elements in your food:
Soy sauce, oyster sauce, shrimp paste… Asian food uses a lot of very salty ingredients.
Salt accentuates tannins in wine.
FRUITY wines, whether red or whites, such as a cru Beaujolais, red from the Loire or South West dry white.
Although Asian people do not eat many desserts, many Asian dishes are sweet & savoury.
Dry wines tend to taste even drier & thin.
SWEET wines, that are just as sweet or even sweeter than your dish. There plenty of options, but usually Alsatian sweet wines, with different levels or sweetness and aromatic grapes, are a great fit.
Asian Food is all about balance. To balance the sweetness of some dishes, Asian people use some savour ingredients such as tamarind, lime or green mango.
Sourness can overpower the wine.
HIGH ACIDITY red or whites, from cooler regions: Sauvignon/Muscadet from the Loire, dry Alsatian Riesling.
Umami is a flavour that can almost only be founf in Asian food. It is seen as the sixth flavour ». It is the taste given by soy sauce or stock cube. Some call it the « meaty/earthy » flavour.
Umami flavours bring out earthy/dusty notes in wine.
STRONG & MATURE wines with some polished tannins. For example 10 year-old Saint Estèphe or Médoc.
Some ingredients used in Asian food are bitter, such as gingseng.
Bitterness enhances tannins in red wines.
FULL-BODIED whites or reds with silky tannins. Usually Châteauneuf du Pape is a great option as these are powerful wines but with with gentler tannins than Bordeaux wines for example.
The more you go inland, the spicier the food, such as in Chengdu in China.
Spiciness enhances alcohol in wine.
FUITY & SPICY wines, such as Rasteau, Côtes du Rhône or Vacqueyras.
Many Asian dishes are fried, even if you can’t see it! So watch your weight, Asian food is not that much healthy…
Fat tends to coat your palate, hidding the flavours in wine.
HIGH ACIDITY reds or whites or TANNIC reds to cut through the fat in food. For acidic wines, there are plenty of options in the Loire and Alsace regions. Regarding tannic reds, your bets option will be a Madiran from the South West, made from thee world’s most tannic grape variety, « tannat ».
5 Matchings that always work
- Beijing Duck = Umami + Spicy + Sweet > Côtes du Rhône
- Shrimp Tempura = Fat > Dry sparkling Vouvray or Crémant/Champagne
- Pad Thaï = Sour & Spicy > Off-dry Gewürtztraminer
- Steamed Dim Sum = delicate > Dry Alsatian Pinot Gris
- Hot & Sour Fish Soup = Spicy + Sour > Dry Riesling