Ah, there’s really nothing better than enjoying a hearty cup of kopi siew dai with your roti prata kosong, or sipping on bandung to water down the spice from that piping hot laksa. But every now and then when you’re feeling just a wee bit fancy, why not pair your favourite dishes with some hawker cuisine? We sought the advice of our friends at The French Cellar to learn more about which kinds of wines to pair with local dishes.
Pair lightly-spiced foods with white wines.
Dishes like chicken rice, wanton mee or hokkien mee which usually come with a side of chilli sauce or sambal can be paired with white wines. A Gewürztraminer is recommended as it is made of an aromatic grape variety that accentuates these lightly spiced dishes without being too overwhelming.
Sip on this!
If you’re new to the wine scene you’ve probably heard terms like ‘heavy-bodied’, ‘full-bodied’ and the like used to describe wines. But what exactly does ‘body’ refer to? It refers to the texture or weight of a wine in the mouth – usually stemming from a combination of alcohol, extract, glycerol and acid. Heavy-bodied wines have a richer, more complex and well-rounded flavour while light-bodied wines are more subtle and watery.
Pair spicy foods with heavy bodied red wines.
If you’re a huge fan of laksa, mala dishes or curries, then bring along a bottle of heavy bodied red wine with you the next time you decide to indulge. Heavy-bodied red wines like Syrah, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc are good pairings for spicy foods. If heavy-bodied red wines are not to your liking, try a Rosé instead. It has a slight sweetness that helps to balance the spiciness of such dishes.
Sip on this!
Did you know that most bottles of Rosé are produced in Provence, Bordeaux and south Burgundy?
Pair oily foods with heavy-bodied wines.
If you frequent hawker centres very often, you’ll know that some local foods can be quite oily depending on what you’re having. So which wine should you be sipping on if that plate of char kway teow turned out more oily than expected? To mask the oily the flavour of food, go with stronger and heavier-bodied wines that will make that ‘jelak’ feeling a thing of the past!
Pair desserts with sweet wines.
As they say, there’s always room for dessert! But what should you sip on while you enjoy that refreshing bowl of ice kachang? The French Cellar recommends going for sweet sparkling wines like their Clairette de Die when enjoying lightly-sweet desserts such as pandan cake or cheng tng, as well as fruits. When devouring very sweet desserts like chendol, choose a sweeter wines or even opt for a champagne to enhance and elevate the overall taste.
Sip on this!
Did you know that wines can be classified by region or grape? For instance, white wines from Alsace are known for their honey and marmalade aromas while wines from Cotes du Rhone have a spicier taste with hints of ripe red and black fruits. Similarly, wines classified by grapes like Malbec are more intense and deeper in colour while Shiraz wines have a stronger cherry taste.
Pair up like a pro.
Wondering if there’s any advice on how to best consume the wine while eating? Though you may be tempted to glug down the wine as fast as you would with your sugar cane juice, don’t! The correct etiquette is to first sip the wine, take a bite of your meal, and then try the wine again to taste the difference. That’s really all it takes to be a pro!
Advisory: Please be reminded to avoid driving if you’re planning to indulge in alcohol. Safety is paramount!