When we mention wine and food, most consumers think of wine-pairing dinners in formal Western restaurants. While these menus are often delicious, the restaurants’ settings could deter some wine lovers. The emphasis on these wine-pairing dinners also misleads some consumers in thinking that wine should only be drunk with elaborate meals. This is against my philosophy that wine is a lifestyle beverage that can be enjoyed in both casual and formal environments and shared with friends. So, when Yuki from Kylix suggested matching typical Hong Kong snacks with German Riesling, I immediately jumped on the idea.
We had four Rieslings, ranging from Trocken (dry) and Kabinett to Spätlese and Auslese. The menu included Hong Kong-style roasted pork belly and barbecued pork, dim sum, three stuffed treasures (煎釀三寶), curry fish balls, clams in spicy black bean sauce and red bean pudding (砵仔糕). The roasted pork belly fared well with the Trocken, while the Kabinett was the best match with the dim sum. The Spätlese stood up to the stronger-flavoured honey barbecued pork and three stuffed treasures, and the majority concluded that the Auslese was perfect with the curry fish balls and spicy clams.
The best part of this exercise was demystifying conventional food and wine pairings. Most guests admitted that it was the choice of food that attracted them to join. Hopefully, this experience will inspire them to have wine with their everyday meals.
Dedicated wine lovers drink wine whenever they dine and bring their own bottles to local eateries. However, we need more mid-market Asian restaurants to serve wine in order to turn it into a mainstream beverage. I would love to persuade our fast-food chains to serve a glass of wine with their meals and Chinese restaurants to serve weekend dim sum brunch not with tea but with a Riesling Kabinett – a perfect wine matched with yum cha.
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