By tradition, dim sum is washed down and best enjoyed with tea. But if you are one who don’t get boxed by the usual you get to open your palate to a plethora of exciting flavors. Though not often thought of being paired together, but wine and dim sum surprisingly works. But just like any other dish, you also need to pair it with the right wine to compliment it well. Here are some sage advice by the experts to take your dim sum dining to a whole new level with the right bottle of wine.
In dim sum and wine pairing, there are many components that needs to be taken into consideration. You have to think whether the dish is light or heavy, or is the spice low or aggressive, among many other things.
With the range of flavours in a dim sum fare, knowing where to start can be a challenge. But the upside is that you will also be surprised with dizzying amounts of potential pairings!
So in choosing the which wines to go with your favourite dumpling or rice roll, you need to think about the texture, heat and umami. However here are some easy tips to remember as shared by the experts:
Noodle, rice and tofu dishes
For such dishes, heat and texture are the primary concern. Wines that have a softer acidity and a rounder texture to them balances the heat component. California wines offer a round and lush exotic profile for these kind of dishes.
Seafood and the Right Seasoning
If you opt for dishes where the primary ingredient is any seafood, the flavours will meld well with a bottle of young, bold Chardonnay. Experts would also note that the best kind of chardonnays are those that should come from the old world (made in Europe or the Middle East). The only exception would be Australian Chardonnays whose oakyness work better against Chinese seasonings.
Sauvignon for Savoury
By character, Sauvignon blanc is a bright white wine which tends to be very full-bodied. Aside from that it also possess a tart and citrus flavor that languishes on the tongue. It has a mild flavour that communicates easily to novices and connoisseurs alike.Such flavours can range from citrus fruits and melon to herbal and grassy flavours. Other bottles also reveal oaky and vanilla flavours with a hint of spice. Overall, the medium acidity pairs beautifully with the saltiness of soy sauce and zesty freshness of ginger.
When it comes to Chinese food, experts say that acidity in wine is key. For spicier dishes, an off dry Reisling would be highly complimentary. The sweetness of the cold temperature of the wine will help cool off the palate, while the crisp acidity cleanses the mouth allowing you to pop in more bite sized morsel of your favourite dim sum.
Clean, snappy and highly acidic wines have that brand of vibrancy that counterpoints the layers of flavours in dim sum. Sauvignon blanc in particular boasts of a penetrating acidity and clean taste which makes it a popular option for dim sum pairing.
The Spice Factor
What we love about Chinese cuisine is that it is generous with flavours hidden within different layers and textures. Bringing in muscular wines is important, particularly the reds that hail from Portugal. The Cabernet Francs are also a perfect fit as it gives bright fruit and fresh nature. An easier way to remember this is to look for wines that are soft, spicy and those that lean towards the richer side.
Even Compliment the Sauces
Chinese sauces are also a character in itself as they are teeming with a complex variety of spices.Should you ever come by Reisling from older vintages this can be made as an appropriate pairing balance savoury dark-sauced Chinese dishes. This works because the wine contains a lot of spicy notes with the occasional residual sugar which marries well with Chinese food and their strongly-flavoured sauces.
Picking Pinot for Pork
Pinot noir is deemed to be the ultimate food-friendly wine as it easily pairs well with just about anything, especially pork. There are several dim sum dishes with pork as its primary ingredient, and this agrees well with the flavours that range from sweet cherries to ripe berries hidden within different brands.
A New Zealand pinot noir in particular is a good pair for your Chinese dumplings. The mild acidity of this varietal compliments the red chili sauce served for dipping. As an alternative to tea, the lightness of this wine offsets the dumplings’ tendency towards oiliness.
Reach for Rosés, Champagnes and Prosecos
These wines are just begging to be paired with spicy and strong Asian flavours. With impressive interpretations now manufactured almost in every major wine country, it’s now easy to pop any bottle and let these complimentary flavours burst against your palate.
Champagne rosés may be such a western approach, but these always feel right at home with delicate seafood dishes, or crispy deep-fried foods. The wine’s slight sweetness is the key to perfectly communicate with the spices.
A bottle of proseco would also work well particularly with meatier dim sum – perfect for long lunches with family. For lighter dishes, then a simple sparkler would be fine.
A Quick Reminder
Just as you would with other wine pairings, you need to give it time to land a taste that’s a sure winner for you. These are just guidelines, which are also tested and proven, but it is still your preference that prevails.
The bottomline here is that you don’t have to simply settle with tea, when there’s a world of options and flavours waiting to be unearthed with dim sum and wine pairings.
Grab your dim sum feast at Tak Po today, and relive the beauty of rare handmade dim sum in Singapore. Check out our online menu, or call us for table reservations.