Food, Wine

Matching Chinese Food and Wine.

Chinese FoodMatching Chinese Food and Wine.

China is a big country with a wide range of climates and ethnic populations.

In the north, winters are very cold with moderately warm summers. People in these regions eat more cereal and potatoes, whereas in the south wit its humid and hot climate rice becomes the preferred starch.

Inland in Szechwan cooking is highly spicy and uses more meat than fish, around Canton and Shanghai the opposite is true. Here people rely more on seafood and tropical greens, and root vegetables along with rice

Matching Chinese food, as North Americans know it is difficult, but possible with some knowledge of food and wine.

Many Cantonese were brought to Canada and the U.S.A. as indentured railway workers and labourers around the turn of the 20th century. Some came as immigrants. Most stayed after finishing their contracts. They opened eateries, as they had no knowledge of anything else, and the public favoured their food. It was inexpensive lovingly prepared, but simply presented due to financial constraints. The wives cooked, and the men looked after service as best they could.

It must be noted that there are significant differences of Chinese restaurants in Europe, as opposed to those in North America.

In North America, Chinese restaurants feature mostly Cantonese food, which happens to be less expensive. At first blush filling, but actually one feels hungry after a few hours. This is due to the use of less oil, or fat, and scant meat content of dishes.

The cuisine of the Chinese court is more elaborate, and features many delicate dishes that can favourably compete with many famous French and Italian specialties.

Here are some suggestions watching Chinese festive foods with wines:

(It should be noted that traditionally Chinese have not enjoyed European-style grape wine. It is only recently that young and educated Chinese have taken to drinking wines).

Tea-smoked duck – red Bordeaux, or Meritage quality brands from Canada or U.S.A, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon based blends, medium-bodied malbec from Argentina or Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon reserve from Australia.

Dumplings (with garlic, ginger, soy sauce) – Cremant d’Alsace, or aromatic, dry sparkling wines with Shiraz wines from Australia

Spring rolls Gruner Veltliner from Austria, Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire region or New Zealand or Ontario or Torrontes from Argentina, or dry Gewurztraminer from Germany or Alsace.

Lettuce wraps – best with lager beer from continental Europe, i.e The Czech republic, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Italy.

Lambrusco for Emilia Romagna in Italy, or sparkling Shiraz from Australia may also be paired with lettuce wraps.

Roast chicken flavoured with ginger and garlic – Reserva Rioja Blanco, or Gran Reserva Blanco from Rioja, or Pinot Noir from Piedmont, or barrel fermented and barrel aged white wines with high tannins.

Noodles with seafood – Ontario or British Columbia Chardonnay, Chablis, Chardonnay from South Africa or cool regions of Australia i.e Tasmania, Yarra Valley in Victoria, or Margaret River Western Australia.


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