Text: Tang Siu Hau
Recently, I rarely eat out, but despite how much I love cooking, after a while of cooking three meals a day at home with my sister, I still get bored, so occasionally we decide to veg out and order takeaway! When it comes to cha-chan-teng dishes, the safest and also the evilest bet must surely be the beef chow fun (stir-fried beef rice noodles) and siu mei (roast meat) rice. Last time when I joked about pairing wine with beef chow fun, my Wine Buddy from Jebsen Wines and Spirits said with a straight face, ‘red wine, and it has to be full-bodied’. That makes sense; with the high oil content of stir-fried noodles, along with the strong flavours of oyster sauce and both the light and dark soy sauce, drinking a full-bodied red wine can definitely cut the grease. Yes! This is an evil combo, but trust me, it's worth it. Why would you even think about calories if you want stir-fried noodles? During this time when going out for dinner is off the table, it is totally justified to treat yourself to a steaming plate of stir-fried noodles and a bottle of red wine.
If I can only drink one type of alcohol for the rest of my life, I would probably choose red wine. I once had a chance to taste a French red wine from 1957. The moment I tasted it, I knew how it felt to experience the ‘mellowness’, the ‘rich layers’, the ‘aftertaste’ - all of the jargon you hear on wine tasting shows, I experienced in one sip. Since then, whenever I come across a fairly-priced red wine which shares some of the qualities of that wine, I would smile knowingly. In fact, there are a few inexpensive red wines with multi-layered tasting profiles on the market. Since Jebsen Wines and Spirits conveniently describe the acidity, sweetness, tannins of various red wines on their site, even if you don't know what flavour will come from a certain type of grape, terroir or barrel, you can still choose according to your preferred taste.
Personally I prefer full-bodied red wine, a relatively heavy taste with some astringency; the effect of the tannins in red wine on your taste buds. It balances perfectly with red meat or rich-flavoured foods like stir-fried noodles.
If I can foresee the dinner will be a 'protracted battle’ fuelled by endless discussions, I will normally drink red wine. A study by King's College London found that different types of alcohol have different effects on our mood, 53% of the interviewees described feeling more relaxed after drinking red wine. However, I believe overdoing anything will backfire, like the hangover - the collateral damage of too much wine.
Finally, a friendly reminder, never drink and drive.