Wine and cheese are popular to combine together, but perhaps they shouldn’t be. Both have strong flavors that can be difficult to blend. It’s not impossible to pair this food and beverage, but connoisseurs of wine and cheese may have to put up with a lot of distasteful trial and error first. The same is true when trying to drink wine while eating Chinese food. Two strong flavors compete, often with less than desirable results for the palate.
Ideal Chinese Food and Wine Combinations
Cabernet Sauvignon is a popular red wine that contains heavy tannins. Because of this, the clash with spicy Chinese food can be awkward and physically uncomfortable. It’s one of the few wines to avoid at a Chinese restaurant or when ordering take-out. However, people who have not gotten that memo usually stick to beer if they want to have an alcoholic beverage with a Chinese dish. The pairing tips below allow those willing to step outside of their comfort zone the chance to make a gradual shift to include wine with their Chinese cuisine.
- Sauvignon Blanc makes a good choice to accompany vegetable lo mein because of its crisp and grassy flavor. This combination offsets the strong flavor of the soy sauce included with a serving of vegetable lo mein.
- Lambrusco served with sesame chicken works well with the soy and sweet taste of the meat.
- With its strong acidity, Gamay cuts through the hot aftertaste of General Tso chicken just fine.
- Riesling wine calms the heat of kung pao chicken quite nicely. Restaurants differ on the spiciness of this dish, but Riesling remains a great choice no matter the temperature of the food.
Best Types of Red Wine to Drink with Chinese Food
Wine lovers all have their preferences, such as whether they prefer red, rosé, or white wine. Those who fall into the first category should know that Shiraz/Syrah, Malbec, and New World Cab all make an excellent drink option with Chinese cuisine due to their low acidity and large amounts of ripe fruit. Dishes served with an abundance of barbeque sauce go well with Alamos Malbec. For lighter cuisine, Alpha Estate Rose makes the ideal wine accompaniment. Its tropical, sweet flavor isn’t overpowering due to the mild food flavor.
Combining Wine with the Most Popular Chinese Dishes
What many Americans don’t realize is that the recipes for Chinese food they enjoy here hail from eight different regions in China. Three of these flavors are especially in the United States, including Hunan and Sichuan, known for their spiciness, and the sweet-flavored food of the Cantonese region.
Most Chinese restaurants in America don’t focus the menu on a single region. That means the food and beverages may not be compatible. Because of this, some restaurant owners allow diners to bring their own bottles of wine to enjoy with lunch or dinner. Anyone who wants to take advantage of this would be wise to learn the primary flavors of the dish they want to order ahead of time and choose a wine with the opposite attributes.