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Chilled Wine with Asian Food: 7 Appetising Pairings for Summer

Chilled Wine with Asian Food: 7 Appetising Pairings for Summer

Text: Dakki Wong

Delicious and appetising Asian food is always a good choice for summertime, especially those sour and spicy dishes. However, finding a good wine for pairing the ever-popular Asian gourmet delights is always a challenge. The flavours are such complex combinations, sweet, sour, spicy and salty. Here are 7 pairings of chilled wines and Asian dishes waiting for you to uncover.

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A summer wine can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere even when you’re having fun under the sun. Imagine how a sip of brightly crisp and fresh chilled wine soothes and refreshes your soul. To pick a refreshing wine for summertime, look for bright acidity, and light- to medium-bodied wines. Fruitiness is another chilling factor as the wonderful aromas of citrus fruits, melons, peaches and berries are highly competent to take the boredom out of the lazy days of summer. So act fast and stock up your fridge now.

1. Hainan chicken rice + Aromatic white wine

Your appetite would love something light and fragrant in the hot and humid climate, for example, Hainan-style chicken rice, an iconic dish in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Neatly sliced and succulent chicken served with fragrant rice cooked with garlic clove, ginger or even pandan leave, complemented with cucumber slices, chilli garlic sauce, ginger paste or dark soy sauce in some places.

Try pairing this mouthwatering dish with dry, fruity and aromatic wines such as German or Australian Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier or Condrieu, or even Gewurztraminer. The tropical fruits and stone fruits of these wines make a good counterpoint to the salty note and the spices of the chicken rice. If you want a soft roundness to go with the smooth poultry, Viognier and Condrieu are both perfect. The soft acidity of Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc is inviting and keeps you finishing the whole dish.

#Riesling, #Sauvignon Blanc, #Viognier, #Gewurztraminer.

2. Bibimbap + Rosé

It’s a popular Korean lunch-in-a-bowl. Traditionally served in a heated stone bowl, the salad-like dish is even welcomed in the hot weather without the stoneware. On top of cooked rice, there’re sauteed and seasoned vegetables such as carrot, spinach, zucchini, mushroom, beef slices, kimchi, and the Korean hot pepper paste, gochujang. Spicy, crunchy and refreshing.

As the dominating spicy gochujang and fermented garlicky and sour flavour of Kimchi is the main concern for pairing, try a refreshing light-bodied white to freshen up your palate like Soave, or on the contrary, try Rosé with bold flavour to stand up with the bold Korean flavour, such as the heavily berry-scented Rosé from Provence.

#Rosé

3. Thai Crab Curry + Off-dry Riesling

Thai curry crab is wonderfully rich in flavour, spicy, sweet, salty, aromatic and creamy. Your palate will fall for the wild journey and you cannot stop eating the juicy crab meat with the thicky sauce no matter how hot you feel. That’s why you need something to cool down your palate.

Everyone says Riesling is the best option for Thai food. True, but to be exact, it’s off-dry Riesling such as Spätlese Riesling to pair with Thai crab curry. The residual sugar in the wine balances out the hot and salty flavours, while the bright acidity cut through the creaminess and the sweetness of the dish. The expressive tropical notes match well with the coconut fragrance and the low alcohol level ensures the heat will not accentuate.

#Riesling

4. Japanese sashimi + Sparkling

Cold foods or raw foods get more popular when the temperature rises. Who doesn’t love to swallow a slice of beautiful sashimi to stand the heat? The choice of wines for pairing sashimi is quite straightforward. Get a smooth and round wine if you’re having light and lean sashimi. If you’re having some fatty slices, try some dry wines with high acidity.

In case, you just need a cool glass of wine to rule them all, consider Sparkling with medium acidity but smooth mouthfeels, such as Vouvray Sparkling or a Rosé Champagne.

#Sparkling

5. Kimchi pancake + Sparkling

This tasty Korean pancake can be enjoyed during breakfast, lunch or dinner. People love its salty and spicy flavours from the kimchi and the chilli dipping sauce, as well as the crunchy crust.


Sparkling always makes a good companion for pan-fried crispiness so Cava will definitely lift the aroma of the pancake. If you want to strike a balance between sweetness and the chilli sensation, switch to slightly effervescent Moscato d’Asti and let the sweetness do the work, while the honey, floral and ripe fruit scent from the wine soothe your tastebuds.

#Sparkling

6. Vietnamese chicken noodle soup + Chenin Blanc

A bowl of noodle soup is super appealing, especially those with spices and herbs. That’s what makes Phở gà (Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup) so popular in summer. A light and clear soup cooked with ginger, shallots, cilantro and fish sauce, served with a generous amount of bean sprouts, Thai basil, chilli peppers, mint and lime wedges. Spicy, sour, aromatic and salty taste in every single bite.

Let the inherently sweet Chenin Blanc stand up to the slight chilli and savoury soup. Also, enjoy the tropical fruits of the wine together with the herbal aromas of the garnishes.

#Chenin Blanc

7. Indonesian Satay + Off-dry Riesling

You could try this snack in different cuisines such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Actually, it’s the national dish of Indonesia. With the sizzling sounds from the barbecued skewers, you can’t wait to dip the sauce and put it in your mouth.


No matter if it’s chicken, pork or beef, the soul of the gourmet is the sweet and nutty peanut-based satay sauce. This sweet and fragrant sauce goes perfectly well with the sweet Riesling such as the Spätlese Riesling.

#Riesling

You should have got some clues on how acidity, fruitiness, subtle sweetness and bubbles work so well with Asian foods. Or go discover more possibilities and share them with us.

Summer Sparkling Week